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IN  THE  HEART 
OF  THE  ARCTICS 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE 
ARCTICS 


PEARY    ON    THE   BRIDGE   OF    THE    "ERIK* 


In  the  Heart 

of  the  Arctics 


BY 


NICHOLAS  SENN,  M.  D.,  Ph.  D.,  LL.  D.,  C  M. 

Professor     of    Surgery,    The    University     of    Chicago; 

Professor     of    Military     Surgery,      Rush    Medical 

College;  Surgeon-General  of  Illinois;  Chief  of 

Operating  Staff  with  the  Army  in  the  Field 

during    the     Spanish-American    War 


CHICAGO 
W.  B.  CONKEY  COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS 


COPYRIGHT,  1907, 

BY 
W.  B.  CONKEY  COMPANY 


kok 


CONTENTS 


PASS 

In  the  Heart  of  the  Arctics 13 

The  Polar  Region  as  a  Summer  Health  Resort  for  Pa- 
tients Afflicted  with  Pulmonary  Tuberculosis 19 

An  Unexpected  Opportunity 23 

The  "Erik" 27 

Newfoundland  Seal  Fishery 31 

Off  for  Greenland 39 

A  Glimpse  of  Labrador  Life 47 

Through  Belle  Isle  Strait 55 

From  Labrador  to  Greenland 63 

Greenland 75 

Along  the  West  Coast  of  Greenland 89 

In  North  Star  Bay 109 

The  Midnight  Sun 7 123 

A  Great  Inland  Ice  Cap 129 

Life  at  North  Star  Bay 133 

Short  Life  of  Greenland's  Flora 137 

Maternal  Love  of  Arctic  Animals 139 

An  Unexpected,  Unlooked-for  Visitor 143 

Arrival  of  the  "Roosevelt" 147 

Commander  Peary 149 

From  North  Star  Bay  to  Etah 151 

How  Peary  Collected  His  Eskimos 155 

The  Walrus 165 

Etah . .  .177 


CONTENTS 

PAGE 

The  Smith  Sound  Eskimos > 179 

Ten  Days  at  Etah 231 

An  Eskimo  Wedding  on  Board  the  "Erik" 255 

The  "Roosevelt" 259 

Departure  of  the  "Roosevelt" - 265 

A  Friendly  Contest  between  the  Midnight  Sun  and  the 

Moon 269 

Deception  of  Distances  in  the  Arctic  Region 271 

The  Flora  in  the  Heart  of  the  Arctics 275 

Arctic  Woes 279 

Approach  of  Winter 285 

Homeward  Bound 287 

Mental  Indigestion 293 

Isolation  of  the  Smith  Sound  Eskimos 299 

Omenak  Fiord 303 

Disco  Island 305 

Harbor  of  Godhavn 307 

Greenland  Ports 317 

From  Godhavn  to  St.  Johns,  Newfoundland 321 

From  St.  Johns  to  Sydney,  Cape  Breton 335 


LIST  OF  ILLUSTRATIONS 


PAGE 

Peary  on  the  Bridge  of  the  "Erik" Frontispiece 

Commander  Peary  on  Deck  of  the  "Roosevelt" 259 

A  Monster  Veteran  Iceberg 95 

Steward  of  the  "Erik"  Calling  for  Dinner 31 

The  "Erik"  at  Etah 27 

Mates    Blanford   and   Whitten,    Engineers   Maher   and 

Knight  of  the  "Erik" 29 

Hunting  Seal  on  Land  Ice 33 

A  Breathing  Hole  in  the  Ice  for  the  Seal 35 

Sealing  Crew  on  Ice  Field 37 

Musk-Ox  of  North  Greenland 39 

My-a,  the  Adonis  of  the  Tribe 193 

Tung-we,  the  Tallest  Man  of  the  Tribe 195 

Moonlight  Glimpse  of  Labrador  Coast 47 

Hopedale — Labrador  Whaling  Station 49 

A  Veteran  Whaling  Crew 53 

Bird  Cliff,  Saunders  Island 167 

Half  of  the  Bag 175 

Ballaena,  Labrador 63 

The  Noble  Game  of  Greenland 75 

Heilprin  Glacier  in  Inglefield  Gulf 153 

Hauling  a  Dead  Polar  on  Deck 93 

One  of  the  Tents  of  Little  Omenak 101 

The  Face  of  Petowik  Glacier— Nunataks  in  the  Rear.  .  .  105 

Old  Igloos,  North  Star  Bay 109 

Greenland  Inland  Fresh  Water  Lakes .                               .  Ill 


LIST   OF  ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGB 

Tupik  (Tent)  and  Eskimo  Children 115 

Two  Interiors  of  Tupik — Floor  and  Bed 117 

Eskimo  with  Woman  in  Kayak 125 

"Jumbo,"  Wife  and  Children 127 

"Jumbo's"  Left  Foot 129 

Tunneled  Iceberg 135 

A  Flower  Patch  in  the  Heart  of  the  Arctics 277 

The  Yellow  Poppy 139 

Eskimo  Dogs  at  North  Star  Bay 133 

The  "Roosevelt"  in  Foulke  Fiord 147 

Commander  Peary  in  Arctic  Suit 149 

Table  Mountain  at  North  Star  Bay  (Noah's  Ark) 103 

Three  Native  Girls 163 

Eskimo  Women  on  Board  the  "Erik" 199 

Eskimo  Woman  with  Child  in  Hood 165 

Kud  and  His  Chum 161 

Two  Whales  in  Process  of  Cutting  Up 57 

Taking  Walrus  on  Board 171 

Eskimo  Women  at  Work  on  Deck  of  the  "Erik" 173 

Etah 177 

Buriate  and  Wife 181 

Female  Form 185 

Eskimo  Women 197 

Eskimo  Dog  Team 201 

Melville  Bay— Seal  Hunting  on  Land  Ice 207 

Iceberg  at  the  Head  of  Inglefield  Gulf 157 

Interior  of  Baffin  Land 99 

A  Civilized  Baffin  Land  Eskimo 227 

View  in  Foulke  Fiord 233 

Natives,  Tents  and  Dogs 119 

An  Eskimo  Belle  .                                                                  .  189 


LIST   OF   ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGB 

Landing  Dogs  at  Etah 243 

Auk  Rookeries  in  Foulke  Fiord 247 

Cleaning  Up  an  Ice  Pan 43 

A  Wedding  on  Board  the  "Erik" 255 

Captain  Bartlett  of  the  "Roosevelt" 261 

The  "Roosevelt"  Leaving  Etah  for  the  Farthest  North  .  265 

One  of  the  Finest  Icebergs  Encountered  by  the  Party  . .  267 

A  Twin  Iceberg 271 

Southern  Shore,  Inglefield  Gulf 155 

First  Cliff  beyond  North  Star  Bay 303 

Southern  Shore  Omenak  Fiord 297 

Civilized  Eskimos  of  Godhavn 311 

A  Monster  Iceberg  in  Disco  Bay 305 

Godhavn 309 

Igloo  at  Little  Omenak  and  Native  Women 107 

Church  at  Godhavn 315 

Blue  Fox  at  Dusk 151 

Eskimo  Dogs 113 

A  View  of  Baffin  Land  .  97 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE 
ARCTICS 


"Speed  the  soft  intercourse  from  soul  to  soul, 
And  waft  a  sigh  from  Indus  to  the  Pole.'' 


We  who  were  born  and  raised  in  the  temperate 
zone,  and  have  spent  much  of  our  lifetime  in  lands 
of  varied  seasons,  have  naturally  a  strong  desire  to 
know  and  see  how  the  people  live  in  the  two  climatic 
extremes — in  the  neighborhood  of  the  equator  and 
the  poles.  From  our  earliest  childhood  days,  we 
have  the  most  vivid  and  pleasant  recollections  of 
the  four  seasons  of  the  year — spring,  summer, 
autumn  and  winter;  all  of  which  bring  their  special 
delights  and  attractions  with  a  never-failing  regu- 
larity. 

"Here  stood  fresh  Spring,  bound  with  flowery 
chaplet;  Summer  was  unclothed,  and  bore  a 
wheaten  garland;  Autumn  also  was  there  be- 
smeared with  trodden  grapes;  and  icy  Winter, 
rough  with  hoary  locks." — Ovidius. 

Spring  reminds  us  of  the  time  when  Nature 
wakes  up  from  her  long  winter  slumber,  rejuvenates 

13 


i4       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

herself  in  the  unfolding  buds,  expanding  leaves  and 
flowers,  and  sprouting  grass  under  the  caressing 
charms  of  the  approaching  sun,  and  the  warm  breath 
of  generous  warm  showers. 

"And  now  every  field  is  clothed'with  grass, 
every  tree  with  leaves;  now  the  woods  put 
forth  their  blossoms;  now  the  year  assumes 
its  gayest  attire." — Virgilius. 

It  is  the  time 

"When  Spring  unlocks  the  flowers  to  paint 
the  laughing  soil." — Heber. 

Spring,  the  symbol  of  childhood,  of  beauty, 
peace,  and  happiness,  is  the  season  which  is  looked 
forward  to  with  impatience;  and  there  is  no  one, 
young  or  old,  who,  after  the  long  winter,  would  not 
join  with  heart  and  soul  in  the  pressing  invitation: 

"Come,     gentle     Spring!     ethereal    mildness! 
Come. " — Thomson. 

Summer  brings  the  golden  harvest  and  fills  the 
air  with  the  exquisite  fragrance  of  the  new-mown 
hay. 

"Autumn    nodding    o'er    the    yellow    plain." 

— Thomson. 

yields  its  corn  and  luscious  fruits,  and  Winter  puts 
Nature  to  sleep  under  a  bed  of  immaculate  snow  and 
invites  young  and  old  to  invigorating  outdoor  sport 
on  ice  and  snow. 

The  climatic  changes  in  the  temperate  zones 
come  and  go  almost  imperceptibly,  and  accomplish 
their  task  silently  and  insidiously.  But  what  a 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       15 

fascination  there  is  about  the  going  beyond  the 
limits  of  these  temperate,  conservative  efforts  of 
nature!  What  an  inspiration  to  go  where  soil  and 
climate  combine  to  force  from  the  earth  nature's 
grandest  and  most  imposing  productions;  or  to  go 
to  the  opposite  extremes,  where  her  icy  hands, 
stretched  from  the  poles,  forbid  the  approach  of 
man  and  beast,  and  lock  the  door  against  the  intru- 
sion of  any  kind  of  vegetation! 

For  eight  consecutive  years  I  have  spent  much 
of  my  vacation  time,  during  mid-summer  and  mid- 
winter, in  tropic  and  sub-tropic  islands  and  coun- 
tries. I  have  become  much  enamored  of  the  lofty, 
feathery  palms,  the  rampant  vegetation  of  the 
tropics,  and  the  child-like,  dusky  people  inhabiting 
them.  I  love  the  primeval  tropic  forests  and  their 
closely  woven,  almost  impenetrable  jungles,  teeming 
with  animal  life,  and  have  learned  to  appreciate 
keenly  the  delicate  fruits  of  nature's  choicest 
orchards  and  the  balmy  air  perfumed  by  the 
fragrance  of  myriads  of  flowers  which  decorate 
meadows  and  foliage. 

The  visitor  from  the  North  revels  in  the  wonder- 
ful handiworks  of  nature,  but  soon  becomes  aware 
by  the  heat  that  distresses  him  and  by  the  insects 
that  torture  him  by  night  and  by  day,  that  he  is  in 
the  tropics.  It  is  then  that  he  thinks  of  a  cooler 
climate  and  the  lines  heading  this  chapter  occur 
to  him : 

"Speed  the  soft  intercourse  from  soul  to  soul, 
And  waft  a  sigh  from  Indus  to   the    Pole." 


1 6       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

I  was  made  to  experience  the  force  and  meaning 
of  these  lines  during  the  summer  of  1904,  on  my 
second  voyage  around  the  world,  when  I  traveled 
across  India  in  August  and  September,  two  of  the 
hottest  months  of  the  year.  At  Benares,  Delhi, 
Jaipur,  and  intervening  points,  the  mercury  of  my 
thermometer,  which  registered  132°  F.  when  ex- 
posed to  the  burning  rays  of  the  sun,  nervously  shot 
up  to  its  maximum  limit  and  had  space  permitted, 
I  have  no  doubt  it  would  have  climbed  up  to  140° 
F.  It  was  then  I  wafted  a  longing  "sigh  from 
Indus  to  the  pole." 

The  depressing  effects  of  prolonged,  continuous 
heat  engenders  an  ardent  desire  for  a  land  where 
the  sun  casts  his  rays  more  obliquely  and  with  less 
power  on  the  surface  of  the  earth.  Having  become 
somewhat  familiar  with  the  tropics,  their  people, 
their  trees  and  flowers,  their  animal  life,  and  the  effects 
of  heat  on  man,  beast,  and  vegetation,  an  irresist- 
ible desire  gained  possession  of  me  to  seek  the  dis- 
tant North,  where  Nature's  moods  and  methods 
are  more  stern  and  where  the  struggle  of  life  is  more 
exacting  and  severe.  I  have  had  glimpses  of  the 
North  from  different  points:  at  North  Cape, 
Norway,  where  I  was  fortunate  enough  to  see  the 
midnight  sun  in  all  his  glory;  in  Alaska,  the  land  of 
forests,  fiords  and  inland  seas,  the  home  of  the  won- 
derful Muir  and  Taku  glaciers,  and  the  wild  un- 
tutored Alaska  Indians;  in  Newfoundland,  that 
stern  and  semi-arctic  island,  until  quite  recently 
the  winter  home  of  many  of  the  arctic  animals;  in 
Siberia,  the  land  of  flowering  steppes,  mountains, 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       17 

majestic  rivers,  strange  lakes,  and  endless  moss- 
grown  tundras.  But  my  imagination  carried  me  away 
beyond  these  now  much  frequented  places,  away 
beyond  the  Arctic  Circle. 

The  writings  of  the  most  noted  arctic  explorers, 
Kane,  Nordenskjold,  Peary  and  Nansen,  added  oil 
to  the  fire,  and  the  longing  became  irresistible. 
Greenland,  the  land  of  glaciers  and  icy  mountains, 
was  my  objective  point.  But  how  to  get  there  and 
return  within  the  limits  of  my  allotted  vacation 
time,  were  matters  not  easily  solved.  Fate  favored 
me.  When  the  daily  press  brought  the  news  that 
Dr.  Frederick  Sohon,  of  Washington,  D.  C.,  intended 
to  take  a  party  of  consumptives  on  a  cruise  along 
the  western  coast  of  Greenland,  to  give  them  the 
benefits  of  the  uncontaminated  pure  air  of  the  arctic 
region,  I  decided  to  make  use  of  this  unusual  oppor- 
tunity to  gratify  my  burning  desire  to  study  the 
climatic  conditions  within  the  Arctic  Circle,  the 
natives,  and  the  scanty  vegetation.  I  reserved  at 
once  a  cabin,  but  unfortunately  the  plan  miscarried, 
owing  to  objections  made  by  the  Danish  govern- 
ment, to  the  landing  of  the  vessel  at  any  point  along 
the  intended  route.  It  is  a  great  pity  that  Doctor 
Sohon  could  not  carry  out  his  well  matured  plans, — 
to  test  the  curative  power  of  the  arctic  region  in 
cases  of  incipient  tuberculosis  of  the  lungs  and  other 
parts  of  the  body. 


THE  POLAR  REGION  AS  A  SUMMER  HEALTH 
RESORT 

FOR    PATIENTS    AFFLICTED    WITH    PULMONARY 
TUBERCULOSIS 

Experience,  the  best  and  most  reliable  guide  in 
the  practice  of  the  healing  art,  has  demonstrated, 
most  conclusively,  that  the  best  results  in  the  treat- 
ment of  pulmonary  tuberculosis  are  obtained  by 
giving  the  patients  the  benefits  of  outdoor  air  and 
a  maximum  amount  of  sunlight.  These  two  cura- 
tive agencies  are  found  in  an  ideal  condition  during 
the  summer  months,  above  the  Arctic  Circle,  where 
the  air  is  absolutely  sterile  as  far  as  the  bacillus 
of  tuberculosis  is  concerned,  and  where  the  short 
summer  is  one  long  day,  illuminated  by  the  dazzling 
rays  of  the  midnight  sun,  which,  in  themselves, 
exercise  a  curative  influence. 

The  personal  experience  of  Doctor  Sohon  proves 
the  curative  power  of  the  arctic  climate  on  tubercu- 
losis. In  speaking  of  the  projected  Greenland  cruise, 
he  says:  "The  plan,  which  has  been  a  dream  of 
mine  for  many  years,  and  which,  through  the  aid 
of  a  number  of  generous  men,  will  now  be  put  into 
operation,  is  the  sequel  to  my  own  experience  in  the 
polar  regions.  I  accompanied  Commander  Peary 
in  1897,  and  was  at  that  time  slightly  affected  by 
tuberculosis  myself.  I  improved  so  rapidly,  de- 
spite the  hardships  of  the  journey,  and  was  so  vastly 


20       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

benefited  that  I  was  struck  with  wonder  at  what 
the  arctic  regions  could  do  for  persons  so  affected. 
Five  years  afterward,  on  accompanying  the  Peary 
relief  expedition,  I  made  an  exhaustive  study  of  the 
subject  of  the  curative  properties  of  the  far  North 
for  consumptives." 

Tubercle  bacilli  do  not  necessarily  cause  a  hopeless 
disease,  but  it  is  the  resulting  mixed  infection  with 
pyogenic  organisms  which  occasions  danger.  The 
indications  in  the  treatment  are  to  have  an  environ- 
ment free  from  harmful  bacteria,  and  to  secure  such 
other  favorable  conditions  as  to  encourage  a  resto- 
ration of  vitality  and  vigor,  by  which  the  disease  is 
arrested  and  health  restored.  These  conditions  are 
found  to  perfection  in  some  of  the  Greenland  fiords. 
The  suggestion  of  their  adaptability  to  this  purpose 
has  nothing  strange  or  experimental  for  its  founda- 
tion. It  offers  something  easily  obtainable  and 
better  than  we  have  at  present — the  highest  de- 
velopment of  all  that  has  proved  beneficial  in  the 
rational  treatment  of  tuberculosis.  "A  summer 
spent  in  Omenak  Fiord  or  Inglefield  Gulf,  where  we 
propose  anchoring  and  biding  awhile,  would  serve 
to  establish  a  cure,  or  insure  its  accomplishment 
afterward,  in  nearly  all  cases  not  hopelessly  advanced. 
Three  consumptives  to  my  knowledge  have  gone  to 
these  places,  and  in  each  case  the  cure  was  immediate 
and  effectual.  Two  of  them  were  for  three  months 
in  the  Peary  expedition,  and  the  third,  a  well- 
advanced  case,  was  for  nine  months  aboard  a  whaler. 
Six  Eskimos  brought  to  this  country  soon  contracted 
virulent  tuberculosis,  four  of  them  quickly  sue- 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       21 

cumbing,  one  being  still  under  treatment  here,  while 
the  only  one  who  returned  to  his  native  snows, 
recovered."  The  climatic  conditions  in  Green- 
land, above  the  Arctic  Circle,  are  ideal  for  this  pur- 
pose. "The  secret  of  the  open  open-air  treat- 
ment for  this  terrible  disease  is  abundant  sunlight 
and  a  dry,  cold,  bracing  atmosphere.  These  three 
ingredients  abound  only  in  the  very  North  during  the 
three  months  of  sunshine." 

"Almost  to  the  extreme  northern  boundary  of 
Greenland,  and  some  degrees  above  the  Arctic  Circle, 
the  summer  temperature  seldom  falls  below  the 
freezing  point,  the  mercury  being  generally  above 
in  July  and  August,  when  it  ranges  from  35°  F.  to 
45°  F.  There  is  no  increase  of  heat  during  the  day 
and  no  cooling  off  during  the  night,  for  nights  there 
are  none." 

Fascinated  by  these  natural  curative  resources 
of  nature  in  the  polar  region,  Doctor  Sohon  decided 
to  make  use  of  them  by  taking  a  summer  trip  along 
the  west  coast  of  Greenland,  expecting  to  spend 
much  of  the  time  in  several  of  the  large  inland  fiords. 
He  had  made  arrangements  to  have  the  steamship 
"Havana"  converted  into  a  hospital-ship  with  all  the 
comforts  and  equipments  of  a  modern  sanatorium, 
and  intended  to  make  the  cruise  during  the  three 
summer  months  of  perpetual  daylight.  Sailing 
along  the  coast  and  stopping  in  the  sheltered  fiords 
for  several  days,  would  give  the  patients,  besides, 
the  benefits  of  a  frequent  change  of  scenery.  The 
purity  of  the  air,  the  cool  breezes,  the  constant 
sunbath  and  the  living  on  the  roof  of  a  floating 


22       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

hospital  in  a  region  where  colds  are  almost  unknown, 
certainly  held  out  much  encouragement  that  his 
humane  undertaking  would  have  proved  a  great 
success  had  the  Danish  government  not  put  an 
unexpected  stop  to  his  plans.  Doctor  Sohon  is  so 
firmly  convinced  of  the  curative  power  of  the  arctic 
climate  in  the  treatment  of  tuberculosis  that  he  will 
not  leave  a  stone  unturned  to  make  such  a  cruise 
next  year,  if  not  along  the  west  coast  of  Greenland, 
in  a  region  within  the  Arctic  Circle  offering  similar 
hygienic  advantages. 


AN  UNEXPECTED  OPPORTUNITY 


I  had  set  my  mind  on  seeing  Greenland  this 
year,  and  was  very  much  disappointed  when  I 
found  that  Doctor  Sohon's  plans  had  miscarried.  I 
could  possibly  have  succeeded  in  going  to  Danish 
Greenland  by  way  of  Copenhagen,  whence  a  steamer 
sails  for  Greenland  three  times  during  the  summer 
season;  but  I  wanted  to  see  that  part  of  Greenland 
north  of  the  Danish  settlements,  the  heart  of  the 
arctics.  The  only  chance  left  was  the  Peary 
expedition.  It  was  through  the  influence  of  Dr. 
Sohon  that  Commander  Peary  finally  gave  his  con- 
sent for  Doctor  Sohon  and  myself  to  become  the 
only  passengers  on  his  supply  ship,  the  "Erik,"  a 
courtesy  which  we  keenly  appreciated. 

I  am  very  fortunate  in  having  for  my  traveling 
companion,  on  this  somewhat  novel  trip,  a  man 
like  Dr.  Sohon,  who  is  quite  familiar,  by  his  former 
experience,  with  what  I  expect  to  see  and  study. 
The  time  will  pass  more  pleasantly  and  profitably 
for 

"A  pleasant  companion  causes  you  not  to 
perceive  the  length  of  the  journey." — Publius 
Syrus. 

As  we  will  be  the  only  passengers  on  the  "Erik," 
nothing  will  detract  our  attention  from  studying 
the  "Land  of  the  Midnight  Sun,"  its  strange  people, 
its  scanty  vegetation,  its  wealth  of  marine  animals, 

23 


24       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

its  gigantic  ice-cap  with  its  leaders  seaward  in  the 
form  of  glaciers.  We  will  see  icebergs  born,  icebergs 
floating  and  icebergs  stranded,  in  all  stages  of  dis- 
integration, yielding  slowly,  but  surely,  to  the  grad- 
ually increasing  heat  of  the  sun  and  warmth  of  the 
water  that  carries  them  to  destruction.  We  will  be 
given  an  opportunity  to  visit  the  places  made  nota- 
ble by  a  number  of  intrepid  explorers  on  their  way 
over  the  pathless  ocean  and  limitless  fields  of  ice 
and  snow  in  search  of  the  pole.  We  will  go  where 

"We  learn  daylight." — Shakespeare. 
We  will  spend  most  of  our  time  where 

"Through  the  plains,  of  one  continual  day, 

Six  shining  months  pursue  their  even  way; 

And  six  succeeding,  urge  their  dusky  flight, 

Obscured  with  vapors  and  o'erwhelmed  in 

night." — Prior. 

We  will  see  the  land  and  sea,  where,  during  the 
summer,  night  sets  no  limit  to  work;  where  nature 
exhibits  her  strange  and  mysterious  works  of  art 
in  the  magic  light  of  one  long,  continuous  day,  and 
then  drapes  them  with  the  somber  mantle  cast  over 
them  by  the  unbroken  night  of  the  stern  arctic  win- 
ter of  equal  duration.  For  two  months  I  will  look 
upon  a  new  world,  a  new  race,  a  new  flora,  a  new 
fauna,  where  nature  wears  a  new  face  and  will  be 
made  to  appreciate  more  than  ever  the  value  of 
travel  as  a  means  of  education,  as 

"Nothing  has  such  power  to  broaden  the  mind 
as  the  ability  to  investigate  systematically 
and  truly  all  that  comes  under  observation  in 
life." — Marcus  Aurelius. 


/AT  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       25 

There  is  always  a  peculiar  fascination  about  the 
unknown,  the  strange,  the  mysterious,  and,  as  a  rule, 

"Everything  unknown  is  magnified." — Tacitus. 

To  see  so  much  of  the  wonders  within  the  Arctic 
Circle  as  is  held  out  to  us  by  a  two-months'  cruise 
of  the  "Erik"  is  no  small  privilege.  The  "Erik," 
one  of  the  veterans  of  the  North  Pole  fleet,  has  been 
in  the  service  of  Commander  Peary  during  two  of 
his  former  expeditions,  and  this  time,  as  before,  will 
penetrate  deeply  into  the  frozen  zone,  the  exist- 
ence of  which  the  ancient  classic  authors  had  some 
knowledge  of: 

"There  is  an  icy  zone  on  the  extreme  borders 
of  Scythia,  a  melancholy  waste,  barren  and 
treeless;  there  dwell  sluggish,  cold,  pallid 
looks,  trembling  ague,  and  pining  want." — 
Ovidius. 

In  visiting  such  an  unfrequented  region  like  the 
Arctic  Circle  in  search  of  knowledge  and  recreation, 
it's  doubly  important  to  remember: 

"The  use  of  traveling  is  to  regulate  the  imag- 
ination by  reality,  and,  instead  of  thinking 
how  things  may  be,  to  see  them  as  they  are." 

— Dr.  Johnson. 

Inspired  with  such  good  intentions,  and  happy 
in  anticipation  of  what  this  vacation  had  in  store 
for  me,  I  left  Chicago,  July  3rd,  for  Sydney,  Cape 
Breton,  over  the  Grand  Trunk  Railway,  making 
connection  with  the  Intercolonial  Railway  at  Mon- 
treal, and  arrived  at  Sydney,  via  Tfuro  at  10:30 
P.  M.,  July  6th,  interrupting  the  journey  by  stopping 


26       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

over  eighteen  hours  at  Montreal.  Contrary  to  niy 
expectations  I  found  the  trip  over  the  Intercolonial 
Railway  very  comfortable,  good  service,  fine  sleepers, 
and  excellent  dining  cars.  The  "Erik"  was  expected 
to  sail  from  Sydney  on  the  tenth  of  July,  but  did  not 
come  into  this  port  until  the  thirteenth.  Much  had 
to  be  done  to  get  her  ready  for  the  long  voyage  to 
her  destination,  Etah,  Greenland,  or  possibly  Cape 
Sabine,  Ellesmere  Land.  She  came  with  a  ballast 
of  stone,  which  had  to  be  unloaded,  after  which 
six  hundred  and  fifty  tons  of  coal  were  taken  on 
board,  which  with  sixty-five  puncheons  of  whale 
meat,  constituted  her  cargo  for  the  present  Peary 
expedition. 


THE  "ERIK" 


The  "Erik"  is  a  sealing  vessel.  She  is  a  staunch, 
seven  hundred  ton  steam  schooner,  built  in  Scotland, 
forty  years  ago.  She  has  made  many  trips  in 
search  of  seal  and  whale,  and,  on  two  former  occa- 
sions, was  chartered  by  Commander  Peary.  This, 
will,  therefore,  be  her  third  voyage  in  the  service  of 
this  enthusiastic  and  indefatigable  explorer.  When 
she  came  into  the  harbor,  the  first  thing  that  at- 
tracted my  attention,  and  marked  her  as  a  vessel 
intended  for  perilous  service,  were  two  immense 
barrels  securely  fastened  to  the  fore  and  aft  masts 
near  the  very  tip  of  these  immense  trunks  of  hardy 
pine,  at  least  seventy  feet  above  the  deck.  These 
are  the  so-called  crows'  nests.  These  lofty  lookouts 
are  reached  by  a  rope  ladder,  and  the  sailor  enters 
through  a  hole  in  the  bottom  of  the  barrel,  which  is 
closed,  after  he  has  entered,  by  a  trap  door.  Only 
the  head  of  the  watch  projects  over  the  rim  of  the 
barrel,  and  from  this  swaying,  dizzy  height  he  scans 
the  vast  fields  of  floating  ice  for  seal  and  open  lanes, 
locates  icebergs,  shallow  water,  and  rocks,  and 
sometimes,  when  the  fog  is  dense  on  deck,  the  look- 
out is  above  the  gray  mantle  of  mist  and  fog,  and 
their  inmate  enjoys  the  sunlight  and  unobscured 
vision,  and  is  in  a  position  to  point  out  to  the  offi- 
cers on  deck  a  safe  course  for  the  ship. 

27 


28       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  "Erik"  is  an  old  fashioned  ship  and  has 
no  accommodations  for  passengers,  and  few  con- 
veniences for  officers  and  crew.  It  is  fitted  out  as 
an  ice-fighter,  with  a  strong,  wooden  frame  work, 
with  an  outer  cover  of  square  oak  planks,  more 
than  a  foot  in  thickness.  The  woodwork  is  as  solid 
and  sound  now  as  it  was  forty  years  ago,  notwith- 
standing the  hard  service  to  which  she  has  been 
exposed  during  that  long  space  of  time. 

The  entire  aspect  of  this  veteran  vessel  does 
credit  to  the  name  she  bears,  as  "Erik  the  Red"  was 
one  of  the  most  daring  of  seafaring  men.  Strength, 
endurance  and  simplicity  are  her  most  conspicuous 
qualities.  Rude  and  stern  in  her  appearance,  she 
imparts  confidence  in  those  who,  by  choice  or  ne- 
cessity, have  to  depend  on  her  for  safety  during 
the  long  and  perilous  voyage,  deep  into  and  back 
from  the  "Heart  of  the  Arctics." 

Material  repairs  were  made  a  number  of  years 
ago,  but  the  thirty-seven  horse-power  engine  has 
been  in  use  for  thirty  years  and  remains  in  excellent 
working  condition  today.  The  master  of  the  ship 
on  this  trip  is  Capt.  Job  Vine,  who,  for  many  years, 
has  served  in  a  similar  capacity  on  sailing  vessels, 
plying  between  St.  Johns,  Newfoundland,  and 
Brazilian  ports.  This  voyage  proved  an  unusually 
trying  one  to  him,  as  he  had  never  been  in  the 
arctic  regions  and  was  not  familiar  with  the  trouble- 
some currents  and  the  treacherous  coast  of  Green- 
land, The  crew,  including  the  officers,  is  made  up 
of  nineteen  men,  all  of  them  hardy  Newfoundland 
sailors  and  experienced  sealers  and  fishermen. 


MATES    BLANFORD    AND    WHITTKN— KNGINKKRS     MAHKR 
AND    KNIGHT    OF    THK    "KRIK" 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       29 

The  vessel  has  just  returned  from  the  annual 
sealing  trip  off  the  coasts  of  Labrador  and  New- 
foundland and  in  the  Gulf  of  St.  Lawrence.  The 
accounts  given  by  the  officers  of  this  annual  seal- 
fishery  in  the  early  spring  may  interest  the  reader, 
as  the  information  I  obtained  concerning  this  in- 
dustry is  from  first  source,  hence  reliable. 


STEWARD    OF   THE    "ERIK"    CALLING    FOR 
DINNER 


NEWFOUNDLAND  SEAL  FISHERY 


Newfoundland  seal-fishing  is  comparatively  of 
recent  origin  and  has  been  a  source  of  a  large  amount 
of  wealth  to  the  Colony.  Cod-fishing  has  been  pur- 
sued for  nearly  four  hundred  years;  seal-fishing 
commenced  as  an  industry  at  the  beginning  of  the 
last  century.  Rev.  M.  Harvey,  of  St.  Johns,  has 
made  a  careful  study  of  this  industry,  and  Levi 
G.  Chase  has  published  a  very  instructive  report 
on  the  same  subject,  and  from  these  sources,  I  have 
gleaned  much  in  writing  the  introduction  to  this 
chapter. 

Generally  the  seal-killers  forced  their  way 
through  the  ice,  by  which  nature  had  guarded  the 
helpless  baby  seals.  Few  people  know  that  the  fur 
used  in  making  garments  is  obtained  exclusively 
from  the  young  white  seal — the  skin  being  dyed  to 
suit  the  taste  of  the  customers  of  this  expensive 
and  fashionable  article  of  winter  clothing.  The 
once  happy  breeding  places  of  the  mother  seals  be- 
came, now,  every  spring,  a  slaughter-house,  stained 
with  the  blood  of  their  slain  infants;  and  yet  they 
return  year  after  year  to  witness  a  repetition  of  the 
same  cruel  scene.  Seal-killing  (we  can  not  speak 
of  hunting  in  this  connection)  commenced  by  taking 
the  animals  in  nets  which  were  placed  between  the 
shore  and  some  island  rock  at  no  great  distance. 
As  the  animals  migrated  in  fabulous  numbers,  a 

3* 


32       77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

few  would  become  entangled  in  the  nets.  The 
same  primitive  method  is  still  made  use  of  in  some 
parts  of  the  northern  coasts  of  Newfoundland  and 
Labrador,  especially  in  capturing  bay-seal  which  is 
non-migratory. 

The  mother  seals  not  infrequently  make  their 
breeding  ground  on  the  shore  where  the  young  seal 
are  killed  with  a  club  and  the  old  ones  are  shot.  In 
1894,  120,000  seals,  old  and  young,  were  killed  on 
shore.  At  first  the  seal  was  hunted  only  for  its  fur. 
Seal-oil  was  first  mentioned  as  an  article  of  export 
from  Newfoundland  in  1749 — the  value  of  the  yield 
for  that  year  being  estimated  at  $5,000.  With  the 
depreciations  in  the  value  of  seal-fur  and  the  de- 
crease in  the  annual  yield,  the  blubber  of  the  seal 
plays  a  more  important  role  as  an  article  of  export. 

The  next  progress  in  seal-killing  was  made  by 
fitting  out  small  schooners  of  from  30  to  50  tons, 
manned  each  by  12  to  18  men.  These  schooners 
would  generally  leave  the  different  harbors  about 
the  2ist  of  March  in  order  to  escape  the  equinoctial 
gales,  or  "St.  Patrick's  brush,"  as  it  was  called. 
Experience  soon  demonstrated  that  the  proper  time 
for  leaving  port  was  the  first  of  March,  in  order  to 
reach  the  young  or  white  seal  before  they  had  grown 
sufficiently  strong  to  take  to  the  water.  As  many 
as  a  hundred  vessels  used  to  leave  the  harbor 
of  St.  Johns  every  spring  for  the  icefields.  So  re- 
munerative was  this  industry  that  its  expansion 
was  wonderfully  rapid  up  to  1815,  when  the  whole 
business  of  the  country  sustained  a  severe  shock 
by  the  termination  of  the  wars  between  England 


1 1 " 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS      33 

and  France.  Statistics  go  to  show  that  in  that 
year  only  126,315  seals  were  caught,  while  in  1844 
the  number  reached  the  astonishing  figure  of  685,530. 
In  1857  there  were  400  vessels,  of  from  70  to 
200  tons  engaged  in  the  seal-fishery,  their  united 
crews  numbering  13,000  men.  The  average  annual 
value  of  the  seal-fishery  at  that  period  was  from  a 
million  to  a  million  and  a  quarter  dollars.  In  1863 
steamers  commenced  to  take  the  place  of  sailing 
vessels.  This  change  has  revolutionized  seal-fishery. 
In  1882  there  were  25  steamers  with  an  average 
tonnage  of  about  500  tons. 

The  use  of  steam  in  place  of  sails  has  reduced 
the  number  of  hands  engaged  in  this  industry  more 
than  one  half.  The  fishermen  have  lost  by  this 
change.  The  men  now  receive  only  one-third  of 
the  value  of  the  seals  taken  by  each  vessel,  instead 
of  one  half,  which  was  their  share  in  sailing  vessels. 
The  great  difficulty  now  with  them  is  to  get  berths 
on  board  the  steamers,  and  hundreds  of  applicants 
are  left  behind  every  year.  Some  years  the  losses 
to  men  and  ship  owners  are  great.  In  1894,  the 
21  steamers  engaged  captured  only  152,821  seals. 
It  is  a  mistake,  therefore,  to  suppose  that  the  cap- 
italists receive  an  undue  share  of  the  profits.  Their 
losses,  when  the  animal  catch  is  small,  are  very 
serious  and  the  returns  on  their  heavy  outlay  are, 
on  an  average,  very  moderate.  Some  years,  on  the 
other  hand,  both  crew  and  ship  owners  have  a  rich 
harvest.  The  largest  bill  ever  made  in  a  St. 
Johns  steamer  was  that  made  by  the  crew  of  the  S. 
S.  "Nimrod,"  in  1871,  a  crew  of  140  men  made  $208.47 
s 


34       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

each,  in  two  trips — 28,087  seals  were  taken.  In 
1900,  19  steamers  brought  in  353,276  seals, 
the  number  of  men  employed  being  3,760  and  the 
men's  profits  averaged  from  $3.16  to  $58.48 
each.  The  risk  of  property  to  the  ship  owners  is 
great;  for  example,  during  thirty  years,  from  1863 
to  1893,  no  less  than  16  steamers  were  lost  by  being 
crushed  between  the  ice.  No  lives  were  lost,  as  the  men 
saved  themselves  by  taking  refuge  on  the  ice,  from 
where  they  were  picked  up  by  other  steamers  or 
they  reached  the  shore  by  walking  over  the  ice-floes. 
The  Gulf  of  St.  Lawrence  and  the  coasts  of  Green- 
land and  Labrador  are  the  favorite  sealing  grounds 
of  the  Newfoundland  fishermen.  Parties  in  St. 
Johns  control,  to  a  large  extent,  this  industry  at 
the  present 'time,  and  from  this  city  most  of  the 
yield  in  fur  and  oil  finds  its  way  into  the  home  and 
foreign  markets,  . 

About  twenty  steam  schooners,  manned  by  from 
2,000  to  3,000  men,  that  is  100  to  300  men  to 
each  vessel,  constitute  the  present  annual  sealing 
force.  A  recent  law,  intended  to  protect  this  valu- 
able fur-bearing  animal,  limits  the  vessel  to  one 
sealing  trip  a  year.  The  month  of  March  is  the 
sealing  season,  and  lasts  from  twenty-five  to  thirty 
days.  The  seals  come  to  their  breeding  grounds  in 
countless  numbers  during  the  last  week  in  March, 
the  average  time  being  about  the  twenty-fifth  of  the 
month.  They  congregate  in  compact  herds  on  the 
smooth  ice.  All  of  the  young  seal  are  born  within 
two  or  three  days.  Twins  are  very  rare.  The 
young  seal,  three  weeks  old  when  the  coat  is  white, 


'•1 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       35 

yields  the  valuable  fur.  The  skins  of  the  old  animals 
are  tanned  and  are  converted  into  leather,  the  fur 
being  worthless.  The  mother  seals  leave  the  breed- 
ing grounds  as  soon  as  the  young  can  take  care  of 
themselves.  The  season,  therefore,  is  a  short  one. 
The  steamers  leave  St.  Johns  about  the  same  time, 
and  then  a  race  begins  to  reach  the  breeding  grounds 
and  locate  the  herds.  This  year  the  crew  of  the 
"Erik"  found  three  herds,  estimated  at  15,000, 
out  of  which  7,000  to  8,000  were  taken.  As  soon  as 
a  herd  is  in  sight,  the  steamer  sails  slowly  along  the 
margin  of  the  ice.  The  men,  armed  with  a  sealing 
hook,  jump  off  and  land  on  the  pans  of  ice,  when 
they  are  divided  into  groups  of  about  ten  each, 
under  the  command  of  a  foreman,  an  experienced 
sealer,  for  each  set.  After  the  organization  of  the 
crew  has  been  completed,  and  the  manner  of  attack 
on  the  animals  planned,  the  herd  is  surrounded 
and  the  slaughter  begins.  The  work  of  destruction 
does  not  deserve  the  term  "seal-hunting,"  as  it  con- 
sists largely  in  killing  the  helpless  infant  seals  by 
clubbing  them  to  death.  The  club  is  a  heavy  stick 
about  six  feet  in  length,  mounted  on  one  end  with  a 
gaff,  consisting  of  a  spearlike  projection  and  a  hook. 
This  rude  weapon  is  not  only  used  in  dealing  the 
death-blow,  but,  with  the  hook,  animals  are  jerked 
out  of  the  water  and  drawn  upon  the  ice'.  It  is  also 
an  exceedingly  useful  implement  to  the  men  in 
jumping  from  pan  to  pan  of  the  pack  ice,  and  in 
case  a  man  makes  a  misstep,  it  aids  him  in  escaping 
drowning  until  he  can  extricate  himself.  If  his  efforts 
are  fruitless,  a  nearby  companion  uses  his  gaff  in 
landing  him  on  the  ice. 


36       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  baby  seal  is  easily  killed  by  a  blow  on  the 
head,  others  are  kicked  to  death.  The  mother  seal 
remains  faithful  to  the  last  in  defending  her  offspring, 
and  if  there  are  not  enough  baby  seals  to  make  the 
catch  remunerative,  the  old  animals  are  killed  in 
their  turn  by  clubbing  or  shooting.  Even  the 
hardy  seamen  speak  of  this  slaughter  with  emotion. 
Frightened  almost  to  death  by  the  presence  of  so 
many  men,  and  the  work  of  carnage,  these  helpless, 
innocent  little  animals  lift  their  tearful  eyes  and 
utter  their  mournful,  baby  cry  in  appeals  for  mercy; 
but  no  amount  of  supplication  can  save  them  from 
certain  death;  the  ruthless  slaughter  goes  on  until 
every  baby  seal  is  counted  among  the  dead.  The 
extermination  of  the  new-born  is  always  complete. 
Many  of  the  old  animals  escape,  only  to  return  the 
next  year  to  meet  a  similar  cruel  reception.  The 
slaughter  of  the  innocents  completed,  the  task  of 
skinning  the  carcasses  begins.  The  season  being 
so  short  and  the  competition  keen,  everything 
must  be  done  with  as  little  loss  of  time  as  possible, 
to  clear  up  the  field  in  order  to  find  and  exterminate 
another  herd.  These  men  are  experts  in  removing 
the  valuable  parts  of  the  animals  killed — the  skin 
and  the  thick  layer  of  fat  between  it  and  the  under- 
lying muscles,  both  of  which  are  removed  together 
with  a  few  strokes  of  the  knife.  An  incision  is 
made,  with  one  stroke  of  a  sharp  knife,  from  one 
end  of  the  animal  to  the  other,  on  the  ventral  side, 
and,  in  a  minute  and  a  half,  skin  and  fat  are  severed 
from  what  remains  of  the  carcass,  which  is  left  on 
the  ice  to  be  devoured  by  flesh-eating  animals.  One 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       37 

flipper  is  left  attached  to  the  skin  to  facilitate  the 
handling  of  it.  The  steamer  hovers  in  the  neigh- 
borhood of  the  bloody  field  of  the  dead,  and  with 
hooks  and  winch,  the  skins  are  brought  on  deck  and 
later  stored  away  in  the  hold  of  the  ship,  where  they 
are  preserved  by  the  use  of  salt  and  ice. 

To  make  this  business  remunerative,  each  vessel 
ought  to  take  about  30,000  animals.  The  crew  is 
entitled  to  the  value  of  every  third  seal,  and  the 
captain  receives  besides,  four  per  cent,  of  the  value 
of  the  cargo.  The  cargo  is  sold  by  weight,  the 
present  value  being  from  $3.50  to  $4,00  a  hundred- 
weight. Sealing  is  not  as  profitable  now  as  it  was 
a  few  years  ago,  when  the  product  yielded  as  high 
as  $9.00  per  hundred- weight.  Formerly  most  of 
the  raw  material  was  sent  to  England;  at  the  present 
time  it  finds  a  ready  sale  in  the  United  States,  and 
the  demand  for  it  is  on  the  increase.  The  price  of 
the  fur  vacillates  from  year  to  year,  the  fluctuation 
depending  largely  on  the  estimate  in  which  the  fur 
is  held  in  fashionable  society.  Notwithstanding 
this  wanton,  wholesale  animal  slaughter,  old  sealers 
claim  that  there  has  not  been  a  material  diminution 
in  the  number  of  animals  which  migrate  to  these 
breeding  grounds  every  spring. 

The  competition  between  the  different  crews,  for 
obvious  reasons,  is  a  very  keen  one.  An  experi- 
enced master  and  an  able-bodied,  active,  fearless 
crew  weigh  heavily  in  the  balance  of  success,  but 
luck  plays  its  pranks  here  as  well  as  in  other  voca- 
tions. If  a  herd  is  sighted  by  several  sealers  at 
the  same  time,  a  rush  takes  place,  but  the  different 


38       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

crews  are  held  together  by  the  foremen  and  pursue 
preconcerted  methods  established  among  sealers 
and  fix  their  claims  on  the  dead  animals  by  planting 
their  respective  ship  flags  on  the  pans  of  ice  on 
which  the  seals  are  killed.  Stealing  of  dead  animals 
or  their  skins  subjects  the  convicted  culprits  to  a 
heavy  fine. 


MUSK-OX    OF    NORTH    GREENLAND 


OFF  FOR  GREENLAND 

Waiting  is  always  unpleasant,  and  sometimes 
painful;  suspense  and  uncertainty  foster  discontent 
and  test  patience  to  the  extreme  of  endurance. 
Commander  Peary  was  anxious  that  the  "Erik,"  his 
supply  ship,  should  leave  port  as  soon  as  possible, 
and  sent  an  order,  by  wire,  from  New  York,  to  that 
effect.  The  unloading  of  ballast  and  loading  of  the 
coal  cargo  required  much  more  time  than  was  an- 
ticipated. Doctor  Sohon  and  I  boarded  the  vessel 
Saturday  afternoon,  July  i$th,  confident  that  we 
would  get  away  that  same  evening,  or  at  least  some- 
time during  the  night;  but  disappointment  followed 
disappointment.  Coaling  was  suspended  promptly 
at  midnight,  as  Sabbath  day  is  more  strictly  observed 
in  England  and  her  possessions  than  in  any  other 
country  in  the  world.  The  English  sailor,  when 
in  port,  claims  Sunday  as  a  day  of  rest,  and  abso- 
lutely refuses  to  do  any  kind  of  work,  unless  his  ship 
should  be  in  danger.  A  Sunday  aboard  ship  in  a 
coaling  dock  is  not  a  pleasant  experience.  The 
captain  assured  us  that  he  would  sail  at  ten  o'clock 
A.  M.,  Monday.  The  coal  heavers,  however,  did  not 
put  in  their  appearance  until  Monday  morning. 
The  work  then  began  in  earnest.  From  the  elevated 
coal  docks,  car  after  car  discharged  its  contents 
over  chutes  through  the  hatchway  into  the  capa- 

39 


40       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

cious  hold  of  the  ship,  amidst  clouds  of  dust  which 
penetrated  every  crevice  and  found  its  way  into  the 
galley,  dining  room,  and  cabins,  in  spite  of  all  efforts 
to  exclude  it.  Officers,  crew  and  we  two  passengers, 
stained  black  with  this  impalpable  coal-dust,  looked 
like  negroes  before  the  650  tons  of  coal  were  on 
board.  When  the  coaling  was  finished,  the  whole 
deck  looked  like  an  entrance  to  a  coal  mine.  The 
hold  of  the  vessel  and  the  bunkers  were  gorged  with 
the  precious  fuel  to  be  consumed  in  the  far  North, 
in  the  coming  effort  to  reach  the  pole.  Thirty- 
three  tons  were  in  bags  piled  on  deck,  and  then  a 
mountain  of  loose  coal  occupied  more  than  half 
of  the  deck,  leaving  only  a  very  small  free  space 
around  the  galley  and  cabin  entrance.  When  the 
vessel  was  ready  to  sail,  one  of  the  officers  was 
missing,  retarding  again  the  departure.  He  had 
gone  on  shore  and,  although  Sydney  is  supposed  to 
be  a  temperance  town,  he  found  enough  firewater 
to  make  him  forget  the  hour  of  sailing.  The  steam 
whistle  screeched  and  screeched  unmercifully  to 
remind  him  of  his  delay.  He  finally  came,  and  we 
left  the  dock  at  half-past  six  o'clock  Monday  even- 
ing, July  i  yth. 

After  passing  North  Sydney  and  Sydney  Mines, 
and  leaving  the  entrance  of  the  magnificent  harbor, 
we  were  in  full  view  of  the  great  Atlantic  Ocean ;  and 
after  the  unpleasant  experiences  of  the  last  two 
days,  we  were  in  a  fit  state  of  mind  to  comprehend 
and  appreciate  the  meaning  of: 

"The  sea!  the  sea!  the  open  sea! 
The  blue,  the  fresh,  the  ever  free!" — Procter. 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       41 

Commander  Peary  had  made  arrangements  for 
me  to  occupy  the  captain's  room,  the  only  cabin 
deserving  such  a  term  in  the  vessel.  As  we,  the  only 
two  passengers,  had  our  own  provisions  and  cook, 
we  were  independent  of  the  officers'  mess,  and  set 
to  work  at  once  to  establish  our  own  housekeeping 
during  the  long  voyage  to  and  back  from  the  arctic 
region. 

The  weather  was  all  that  possibly  could  be  de- 
sired— a  cloudless  sky;  a  gentle  breeze  from  the 
southwest;  the  temperature  56°  F.;  the  atmosphere 
bracing  and  dry.  In  the  long,  peaceful,  beautiful, 
bewitching  twilight  which  lingered  until  the  hour  of 
ten,  the  green  coast  of  Cape  Breton  gradually,  almost 
imperceptibly,  disappeared  in  the  distance — and 
our  heavily  burdened  steamer  glided  over  the  rip- 
pling surface  of  the  ocean  as  smoothly  as  a  birch 
canoe  over  the  sleeping  bosom  of  a  tiny,  silvery, 
inland  lake.  As  the  soft  twilight  gave  way  to  the 
darkness  of  the  summer  night,  we  became  conscious 
that  it 

"Hath  in  her  sober  livery   all  things  clad." 

— MiUon. 

The  somber  darkness  was  of  short  duration. 
The  furl-grown  smiling  moon  soon  made  her  appear- 
ance and  chased  away  the  darkness  that  had  hardly 
begun. 

"The  moon  arose,  clad  o'er  in  light, 
With  thousand  stars  attending  on  her  train; 
With  her  they  rise,  with  her  they  set  again." 
i  — Cowley. 


42       77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

This  first  night  on  the  ocean,  with  the  pure,  cool, 
bracing  air,  after  eight  months  of  incessant  toil  and 
a  week  of  anxious  waiting  for  the  ship  that  should 
bring  us  the  much-needed  annual  rest  and  recrea- 
tion, was  like  a  calm  after  a  storm — like  a  sunshine 
after  many  days  of  clouds,  fogs,  and  mists.  The 
soft,  enchanting  moonshine  and  the  myriads  of  stars 
twinkling  in  the  pale  blue  dome  of  the  sky  riveted 
our  attention  for  hours,  as 

"Nobody  looks  at  what  is  immediately  be- 
fore them;  we  are  all  employed  in  gazing  at  the 
stars." — Cicero. 

The  next  day  after  a  refreshing  sleep,  we  found 
ourselves  near  the  west  coast  of  Newfoundland,  with 
Cape  Race  still  in  sight  behind  us.  The  whole  day 
we  sailed  along  the  coast,  made  interesting  by  the 
rugged  range  of  mountains,  undulating  and  dentated, 
intercepted  here  and  there  by  bays,  and  clad  with 
pale  green  grass  and  the  dark  foliage  of  stunted  pine 
and  fir.  This  coast  range,  at  some  points,  attains  a 
considerable  height;  Mount  St.  Gregory,  one  of  the 
highest  peaks,  rising  to  an  altitude  of  2826  feet. 
Toward  noon  we  saw  the  first  snow  in  the  form  of 
white  flecks,  in  some  of  the  deep  gulches  on  the 
mountain  sides.  The  coast  scenery  of  the  Bay  of 
Islands,  as  seen  from  the  deck  of  the  steamer,  is 
one  of  the  finest  in  America.  During  the  afternoon 
we  saw  the  first  arctic  bird,  a  tern,  closely  allied  to 
the  gull  family.  The  average  temperature  during 
the  last  twenty-four  hours  was  57°  F.;  very  little 
breeze  and  the  sky  slightly  overcast. 

Wednesday,    July    i8th.     There    was    lightning 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       43 

and  thunder  last  evening,  raining  hard  all  night, 
foggy  along  the  coast,  and  a  drizzling  rain  during 
the  forenoon.  At  noon  we  met  the  first  icebergs, 
six  in  number,  when  in  sight  of  Greenely  Island 
and  the  mainland  of  Labrador.  These  icebergs 
retained  their  aspect  of  virgin  purity,  but  showed 
all  stages  of  disintegration,  from  the  destructive 
effects  of  the  aggressive  July  sun  during  their  slow 
passage  through  Belle  Isle  Strait.  The  low  coast  of 
Labrador  is  treeless  and  only  lightly  draped  with 
a  sward  of  pale  green  grass. 

A  little  fishermen's  village,  well  sheltered  by 
surrounding  hills,  which  we  passed  in  Blanc  Sablon, 
is  the  place  selected  by  Doctor  Grenfell,  the  Father 
Damien  of  Labrador,  for  a  hospital  for  the  fisher- 
men population  of  that  part  of  Labrador.  This  is 
a  most  excellent  choice  for  the  people  who  live  here 
throughout  the  entire  year,  and  for  the  transient 
fishermen  who  frequent  this  part  of  the  Labrador 
coast  during  the  fishing  season,  and  who,  without 
such  a  humane  institution,  would  find  it  impossible 
to  secure  medical  aid  in  case  of  injury  or  disease. 
As  we  approached  the  Strait  of  Belle  Isle,  a  narrow 
passage  of  water,  on  an  average  fifteen  miles  wide 
and  fifty  miles  long,  between  the  coasts  of  Labrador 
and  Newfoundland,  we  met  several  schooners  en- 
gaged in  fishing  for  cod.  The  coasts  of  Labrador 
and  Newfoundland  are  famous  for  their  remuner- 
ative cod-fisheries.  As  we  entered  the  strait  a 
thick  fog  obscured  the  coasts,  and  all  officers  were 
at  their  posts,  straining  their  eyes  for  sources  of 
danger  as  the  steamer  crept  along  at  half  speed, 


44       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

We  were  ^shown  many  places  made  memorable  by 
shipwrecks.  Belle  Isle  Strait  has  a  bad  reputation 
among  seafaring  men  on  account  of  the  frequency 
with  which  dense  fogs  settle  here.  One  of  the 
officers,  an  experienced  whaler,  sealer,  and  fisherman, 
related  to  me  some  very  interesting  facts  concerning 

NEWFOUNDLAND'S   COD-FISHERY 

Of  Newfoundland's  population  of  about  200,000, 
nearly  60,000  are  engaged  in  catching  and  curing 
fish.  The  average  annual  value  of  the  cod-fishery 
is  $4,500,000,  of  the  seal-fishery,  $600,000,  of  the 
herring  and  salmon  fisheries,  $250,000;  of  the  lobster 
fishery,  $60,000.  The  total  value  for  1902  was 
$8,956,992.  Cod-fishery  is  the  summer  industry 
of  a  large  part  of  the  fishermen  population  of  New- 
foundland. Most  of  the  business  is  in  the  hands 
of  a  few  St.  Johns  firms.  The  work  is  done  by  the 
use  of  small  schooners,  each  of  which  has  a  crew  of 
about  ten  men,  and  which  carries  four  or  five  dories. 
The  fishing  is  done  near  shore  by  the  use  of  nets, 
and  farther  out  by  trawling.  When  the  captain 
of  the  schooner  has  selected  the  fishing  ground,  the 
dories  set  out,  and  each  man  attends  to  his  own 
trawl.  The  trawl  used  here  is  a  stout  line  about  a 
mile  in  length,  to  which  are  attached  1500  cod  hooks, 
baited  with  fragments  of  the  squid;  the  ends  of  the 
line  are  fastened  to  an  anchored  float.  The  fish 
caught,  after  being  properly  dressed,  are  salted,  either 
on  board  the  schooner,  or  at  the  fishing  station. 
The  drying  is  done  on  wooden  racks  with  or  without 
an  intervening  layer  of  small  branches  of  the  fragrant 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       45 

fir.  Dried  codfish  constitutes  an  important  article  of 
food  over  a  large  part  of  the  surface  of  the  earth, 
hence  it  has  always  a  ready  sale  and  commands  a 
good  price.  From  the  liver  of  the  cod,  the  medicinal 
cod-liver  oil  is  obtained.  It  is  strange  that,  so  far,  no 
attempts  have  been  made  to  convert  the  parts  of  the 
fish  not  used  into  a  fertilizer,  as  is  being  done  now 
with  the  waste  material  of  the  whale. 


A  GLIMPSE  OF  LABRADOR  LIFE 


I  have  already  referred  to  the  dangers  the  sea- 
men face  in  passing  the  Strait  of  Belle  Isle.  We 
were  made  aware  of  these  soon  after  passing  Point 
Amour.  The  current  was  unusually  strong,  a  stiff 
breeze  set  in,  and  a  dense  fog  made  further  progress 
imprudent,  so  the  captain  decided  to  find  shelter 
for  the  night  in  Loup  Bay,  an  excellent  little  harbor, 
fringed  by  a  small  fishermen's  hamlet,  made  up  of 
about  twenty  small  frame  houses.  After  dropping 
the  anchor,  we  were  safe  for  the  night  in  the  snug 
little  harbor  and  felt: 

"My  vessel  is  in  the  harbor,  reckless  of  the 
troubled  sea. ' ' — Terentius. 

The  mournful  sounds  of  the  fog  horn  at  Point 
Amour,  and  the  intermittent  screechings  of  a  steamer, 
fog  bound  in  the  strait,  were  kept  up  the  balance  of 
the  day  and  the  greater  part  of  the  night.  A  fishing 
schooner  in  full  sail  emerged,  phantom-like,  from  the 
fog  about  the  time  we  entered  the  harbor,  and 
sought  the  same  shelter.  It  was  three  o'clock  in 
the  afternoon  when  we  left  the  steamer  in  a  row 
boat,  headed  for  the  whaling  station  about  a  mile 
from  the  hamlet;  and  soon  after  I  set,  for  the  first 
time,  my  feet  on  Labrador  soil.  We  were  courte- 
ously shown  this  interesting  modern  establishment 
by  the  foreman,  who  explained  to  us  the  processes 

47 


48       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

which  are  now  employed  in  converting  the  giant 
of  the  sea  into  oil  and  fertilizer,  after  the  most  valu- 
able part  of  the  animal,  the  whalebone,  has  been 
removed. 

The  day  before  our  visit,  three  black  whales 
were  brought  to  the  station,  and  the  last  one  was  in 
the  process  of  being  cut  up.  The  great  slabs  of 
blubber  had  already  been  converted  into  oil  and  the 
immense  steam  vats  were  filled  with  the  remaining 
oil-yielding  tissues,  including  the  brain,  bones  and 
muscles.  The  enormous  jaws  had  been  stripped 
of  whalebone,  which  appeared  in  two  separate  pieces, 
made  up,  as  they  were,  of  two  densely  packed,  flat- 
fringed  segments  of  whalebone,  somewhat  in  the 
shape  of  overlapping  fans.  The  rendering  estab- 
lishment, a  group  of  brick  and  frame  buildings,  is 
supplied  with  modern  machinery,  and  every  part  of 
the  animal  is  utilized.  The  intestines  are  preserved 
by  salting,  and  later  are  converted  elsewhere  into 
leather. 

In  a  separate  building  all  refuse  is  made  into  a 
fertilizer,  which  is  shipped  in  bags.  A  dozen  men 
were  busy  in  carving  the  carcass  with  large  knives, 
fastened  to  wooden  handles.  These  men  are  familiar 
with  the  anatomy  of  the  whale  skeleton  and  are 
marvelously  dexterous  in  the  use  of  these  huge 
knives  which  resemble  very  much  a  small  scythe.  In 
another  large  building  a  gang  of  men  was  employed  in 
curing  codfish  which  were  being  brought  in  by  the 
fishing  schooners,  owned  by  the  same  firm.  Tons  of 
salted  cod  were  stored  in  the  warehouse,  and  many 
more  tons  were  spread  over  the  wooden  frameworks 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       49 

outside,  undergoing  a  slow  process  of  desiccation. 
The  smell  in  such  establishments  is  anything  but 
agreeable  to  the  uninitiated,  although  the  utmost 
cleanliness  prevails  everywhere.  More  than  an  acre 
of  ground  was  covered  with  wooden  racks,  upon 
which  the  black  whalebone  was  undergoing  the 
same  process.  Forty  men  are  employed  here, 
throughout  the  entire  season,  in  disposing  of  the 
whales  and  in  curing  and  drying  codfish. 

A  well-beaten  path  from  the  whaling  station 
leads  along  the  coast  to  L'anse  de  Loup,  or  Loup 
Bay,  the  harbor,  about  a  mile  distant.  We  returned 
to  the  hamlet  by  this  path  and  on  the  way  I  improved 
the  opportunity  to  study  the  flora  of  this  part  of 
the  Labrador  coast.  The  flowers,  familiar  to  me 
and  in  blossom  now,  make  their  appearance  in  the 
neighborhood  of  Chicago  during  the  last  two  weeks 
in  April.  I  found  here  the  iris,  dandelion,  smilax, 
dewberry,  gooseberry,  ranunculus,  buttercup,  wild 
strawberry,  sorrel  and  watercresses.  Beautiful  ferns 
were  just  peeping  through  the  shallow,  boggy 
soil  on  the  side  of  the  terraced  mountain  and  were 
just  beginning  to  unfurl  their  curled  up  fronds. 
Dwarf  willows  were  in  the  act  of  producing  their 
catkins.  Tufts  of  light  green  grass  and  stunted  fir 
and  alder  made  up  much  of  the  verdure  of  the 
mountainside.  Much  snow  remained  in  places 
sheltered  from  the  spring  sun,  and  numerous  bubbling 
rivulets  of  the  purest  water  intersected  the  green 
swards  and  the  diminutive  forest  of  stunted,  storm- 
tossed  trees.  The  little  hamlet  has  one  public 
building,  a  small  frame  structure,  with  many  windows, 


50       /AT  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

which  is  used  as  a  school  house,  public  meeting 
place,  and  church.  In  the  last  capacity,  it  serves 
Catholics  and  Protestants  alike.  Vicious-looking 
dogs  guarded  the  doorsteps  of  nearly  all  the  huts, 
which  reminded  us  of  the  fact  that  we  had  passed 
beyond  the  limits  of  wagon  roads  and  the  horse 
as  a  beast  of  burden.  Most  of  the  huts  had  little 
vegetable  gardens  in  front  of  or  behind  them,  and 
in  some  of  them  I  saw  patches  of  vigorous  rhubarb 
and  potato  plants  just  emerging  from  the 
loose,  sandy  soil,  and  cabbage  plants  set  out  only  a 
few  days  before.  A  number  of  icebergs  were  stranded 
on  the  shore  of  the  harbor,  others  remained  mo- 
tionless in  the  pacific  water,  all  of  which,  when  the 
night  set,  loomed  up  like  specters  in  the  darkness. 

A  CAPELIN  RUN 

"Each  bay  with  fog  innumerable  swarms,  and 

shoals 

Of  fish,  that  with  their  fins  and  shining  scales 
Glide  under  the  green  waves,  in  sculls  that  oft 
Bank  the  mid  sea." — Milton. 

The  capelin  (Mallotus  villosus)  is  a  small  salt- 
water fish,  which,  at  certain  seasons  of  the  year,  is 
found  in  fabulous  numbers  on  the  coasts  of  New- 
foundland, Iceland,  Alaska,  and  Greenland.  We  were 
treated  to  a  rare  and  interesting  phenomenon,  illus- 
trating the  abundance  of  marine  life,  the  evening 
we  spent  at  Loup  Bay — a  real  capelin  run.  The 
capelin  is  a  small  fish  about  four  inches  in  length, 
a  kind  of  smelt  that  comes  to  the  Labrador  coast 
regularly  every  year  during  spawning  time,  and 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       51 

after  a  few  weeks  disappears  as  suddenly  and  mys- 
teriously as  it  came.  This  migration  the  fishermen 
call  a  "capelin  run."  The  capelin  season  begins 
about  June  25th  and  is  over  about  the  middle  of 
August.  The  fish  seek  the  shallow  water  near  the 
shore,  where  they  congregate  in  fabulous  numbers 
and,  rubbing  with  the  ventral  side  against  the  sandy 
bottom,  deposit  the  spawn,  a  performance  the 
fishermen  call  "rolling."  Fishermen's  stories,  as  a 
rule,  are  not  noted  for  veracity  and  some  will,  un- 
doubtedly, regard  my  account  of  the  capelin  run 
I  saw  as  an  exaggeration  of  what  really  occurred. 
The  fact,  however,  remains  that  as  we  walked  along 
the  sandy  shore  about  sundown,  the  clear,  shallow 
water  was  made  black  by  wriggling  masses  of  these 
little  creatures,  entirely  obscuring  the  sandy  bottom. 
Many  who  came  too  near  the  edge  of  the  water  were 
thrown  by  the  waves  on  the  beach,  and  hun- 
dreds of  dead  fish  were  thrown  backward  and'  for- 
ward by  the  lapping  waves.  One  of  the  sailors 
secured  a  cast  net,  and  in  three  casts  landed  two 
bucketfuls  of  the  fish,  all  of  them  nearly  uniform 
in  size.  The  numerous  dogs  patrolled  the  shore  and 
helped  themselves  to  fresh  fish  as  they  were  being 
thrown  on  the  beach.  We  could  now  understand 
the  contented  appearance  and  good  behavior  of 
these  ugly,  wolf -like  animals.  In  front  of  every 
fisherman's  hut,  salted  and  unsalted  capelin  were 
being  dried;  the  former  as  food  for  man,  the  latter 
as  a  winter  supply  for  the  dogs. 

Another  proof  of  the  abundance  of  fish  in  this 
part  of  the  Labrador  coast  was  given  us  when  we 


52       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

returned  on  board  the  "Erik."  During  our  absence 
two  of  the  sailors  and  our  cook  amused  themselves 
by  fishing  for  tomcod.  No  need  of  bait  or  special 
skill  here.  The  method  employed  might  not  satisfy 
the  sportsman,  but  it  brought  the  fish  on  deck.  The 
tomcod  is  so  plentiful  in  these  waters  that  the  fishing 
is  done  with  baitless  hooks.  A  double  hook  in  the 
shape  of  a  miniature  anchor,  with  a  sinker  immedi- 
ately above  it,  is  put  at  the  end  of  the  line.  After 
the  hook  has  reached  a  certain  depth,  the  line  resting 
on  the  gunwale  is  suddenly  jerked  up  two  or  three 
feet,  and  this  see-saw  motion  is  kept  up  until  one 
of  the  fish,  attracted  by  the  glittering,  moving  ob- 
ject, is  hooked  and  hauled  on  deck.  More  than  a 
pailful  of  small  cod  were  caught  in  this  simple  manner 
in  less  than  two  hours. 

WHALE-HUNTING 

Whale  hunting,  as  practised  in  the  Greenland 
and  Labrador  waters,  has  undergone  remarkable 
changes  during  the  last  few  years.  The  old  whalers, 
in  open  whale-boats,  and  experts  in  the  use  of  the 
hand  harpoon,  would  find  it  necessary  to-day  to  learn 
new  lessons  in  the  successful  practice  of  their  voca- 
tion. The  tactics  of  whale-hunting  have  been 
revolutionized  by  the  substitution  of  the  steam 
launch  for  the  rowboat  and  by  the  use  of  the  cannon, 
instead  of  arm  and  hand  force,  in  throwing  the 
deadly  harpoon.  Whales  of  all  sorts  have  become 
scarce  in  these  waters  and  the  sperm-whale,  the 
most  valuable,  has  become  almost  extinct.  The 
sport  part  of  whaling  has  given  place  to  means  of 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       53 

destruction  calculated  to  secure  the  game  with  the 
greatest  degree  of  certainty,  and  in  the  shortest 
possible  space  of  time.  The  hand  harpoon  was  not 
a  fatal  weapon.  It  served  the  purpose  of  tiring  out 
the  animal,  after  a  long  and  dangerous  chase,  when 
the  exhausted  beast  could  be  approached  with  greater 
safety  with  killing  weapons.  In  the  struggle  for 
life  the  animal  had  some  show  of  escape  and  even 
of  victory.  T^-day  victory  is  altogether  on  the  side 
of  the  pursuers,  with  no  risk  to  life  on  their  part. 
To  make  the  waning  business  of  whaling  a  paying 
industry,  the  scarcity  of  the  game  makes  it  necessary 
to  secure  as  many  as  possible  of  the  animals  that 
are  discovered. 

The  black  whale  (baleen),  the  species  usually 
hunted  here,  has  a  swimming  speed  of  ten  to 
eleven  knots  an  hour.  He  can  not  live  under 
water  for  more  than  an  hour  and  twenty  minutes 
at  a  time  without  coming  to  the  surface  for  air; 
hence,  when  once  discovered,  he  can  be  followed 
and  kept  in  sight  by  a  crew  in  a  steam  launch  until 
he  is  sufficiently  tired  out  to  come  within  range  of 
the  cannon  harpoon.  The  harpoon  now  in  use  is  a 
vicious  and  most  deadly  weapon.  It  consists  of  a  bar 
of  iron  about  four  feet  long,  and  about  the  size  of  the 
forearm  above  the  wrist.  The  penetrating  end  of 
the  harpoon  has  a  sharp  point  and  four  enormous 
ugly  looking  barbs  which  lie  close  to  the  stem  of  the 
weapon  when  it  ente"  ••  the  body  of  the  whale,  and 
are  spread  by  the  ex  -sion  of  a  cartridge  fired 
by  a  cap  when  the  harpoon  strikes  a  solid  resist- 
ance. This  giant  harpoon  is  fired  from  a  cannon, 


54       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

three  feet  in  length,  mounted  and  operated  on  the 
bow  of  the  steam  launch.  This  harpoon  not  only 
grapples  the  huge  animal,  but  often  the  explosion 
in  the  interior  of  the  body  kills  almost  instantaneously. 
If  this  is  not  the  case,  the  firing  is  repeated  as  often 
as  the  animal  comes  to  the  surface  and  is  within 
range.  The  first  and  all  subsequent  shots  are  fired 
at  close  range,  never  more  than  forty-eight  feet. 
A  black  whale,  of  average  size,  yields  about  $1,000 
clear  profit  to  the  firm.  The  value  of  a  sperm- 
whale  sometimes  reaches  the  enormous  figure  of 
$20,000. 


THROUGH  BELLE  ISLE  STRAIT 


Friday,  July  2ist,  we  left  Loup  Bay  harbor  at 
3:30  A.  M.,  the  fog  having  thinned  out  into  a  mist. 
We  were  soon  out  of  sight  of  land  and  surrounded 
by  icebergs  of  all  dimensions,  from  the  size  of  a  large 
dwelling  house  to  remnants  not  larger  than  the 
ice-blocks  in  a  refrigerator. 

"And  now  there  came  both  mist  and  snow, 
And  it  grew  wondrous  cold, 
And  ice  most  high  came  floating  by, 
As  green   as   emerald." — Coleridge. 

As  we  proceeded  and  again  came  in  view  of  Lab- 
rador, the  amount  of  snow  on  the  mountains  in- 
creased and  the  icebergs  were  larger.  Owing  to 
a  cloudy  sky,  a  drizzling  rain,  and  a  misty  condition 
of  the  atmosphere,  the  Newfoundland  coast  never 
came  in  sight.  The  eastern  inlet  of  the  strait,  near 
Battle  Harbor,  presented  a  beautiful  panoramic 
view.  Hundreds  of  icebergs  had  congregated  here, 
many  of  them  stranded  in  the  shallow  water,  after 
their  voyage  from  the  far  North.  Although  the 
atmosphere  was  misty,  I  could  count  fifty  icebergs 
from  the  deck  of  the  steamer,  surrounding  us  on  all 
sides.  Their  marble  whiteness  and  size  were  inten- 
sified and  magnified  in  the  prevailing  mist.  Many 
of  these  monster  masses  of  solid  ice  were  at  least 
300  feet  in  width,  and  rose  120  feet  above  the  level 
of  the  sea.  As  the  submerged  part  of  an  iceberg 

55 


56       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

is  approximately  seven  times  greater  than  that 
above  the  water,  one  can  realize  the  enormity  of 
the  size  of  these  giant  offsprings  of  the  Greenland 
glaciers. 

Dr.  Kane,  in  estimating  the  size  of  an  iceberg  in 
Melville  Bay,  and  it  was  not  the  largest  one  he  saw, 
reached  the  conclusion  that  it  represented  sixty-one 
millions  of  tons  in  weight.  All  of  the  largest  icebergs 
had  become  arrested  in  their  slow,  southern  course, 
where  the  depth  of  the  strait  is  given  at  sixty 
fathoms;  another  indication  of  their  gigantic  size. 
A  few  of  these  bergs  had  brought  their  moraine  with 
them;  others  had  lost  their  marble  whiteness,  on 
summit  or  side,  by  turning  over  and  rubbing  against 
the  sandy  bottom  of  the  sea.  Many  of  them  were 
cracked  and  fissured,  and  all  of  them  exhibited  indi- 
cations of  a  slow  process  of  disintegration  from  the 
effects  of  rain,  warm  sunshine,  and  the  swift  current. 
These  elements  had  sculptured  summit,  sides  and 
base  into  strange,  fantastic  designs,  some  of  them 
of  exquisite,  artistic  beauty.  Marble  white,  delicate 
blue,  and  emerald  green  were  their  prevailing  colors, 
while  above  the  surface  of  the  water,  blue  shown  in 
the  fissures  and  fresh  surfaces,  and  a  delicate  green 
of  the  submerged  base.  Nature's  chisel  had  done 
some  beautiful  carving  in  the  form  of  grooves,  ridges, 
cup-shaped  depressions,  pillars,  steps,  verandas, 
porticos,  gables,  towers,  steeples,  doors,  windows, 
outlines  of  human  and  animal  faces.  Some  of  them 
showed  the  outlines  of  churches,  houses,  ships,  and 
fortresses,  etc.  This  part  of  Belle  Isle  Strait  is  an 
immense  cemetery  for  these  travelers  from  the  arctic 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       57 

regions.  No  one  knows  how  long  they  have  been 
on  their  journey.  They  would  never  have  met  such 
a  cruel  fate  if  they  had  remained  where  they  were 
born;  but  their  cradle  was  too  deep  into  which  they 
fell  when  they  separated  involuntarily  from  their 
glacier  mother  and  crashed  into  the  cold  bosom  of 
the  ocean,  with  the  noise  of  thunder,  bounding  and 
rebounding,  rocking  and  swaying,  in  the  tumultuous 
water,  infuriated  by  their  fall,  and  on  the  return  of 
calm,  they  drifted  helplessly  with  the  current  in 
the  direction  of  a  climate  deadly  to  their  existence. 
Here  they  are,  aji  army  dying  of  a  fatal  disease.  It  is 
only  a  question  of  a  short  time  when  they  will  return 
to  the  element  out  of  which  they  were  moulded  by 
the  icy  hand  of  the  pola.r  cold.  Their  sweet  water 
will  only  serve  to  dilute  the  brine  of  the  greedy 
ocean. 

Here,  among  these  silent  sentinels,  guarding  the 
inlet  of  the  strait,  we  found  a  large  fleet  of  schooners 
engaged  in  fishing  for  cod.  The  Labrador  coast  is 
a  favorite  place  for  this  industry,  and  the  nearby 
Battle  Harbor  is  a  gathering  point  for  the  fishermen 
and  serves  as  a  safe  refuge  in  times  of  danger  on  the 
sea.  The  village  of  Battle  Harbor  is  comprised  of 
about  twenty  fishermen's  huts,  and  is  noted  for  being 
the  headquarters  of  Dr.  Grenfell,  the  well  known 
missionary  physician  of  the  Labrador  coast.  For 
the  last  twelve  years,  this  devoted,  tireless  worker 
in  the  cause  of  humanity,  has  given  all  his  ener- 
gy to  the  spiritual  and  physical  well-being  of  the 
fishermen,  who  earn  a  scanty  livelihood  by  plying 
their  dangerous  business  along  the  misty,  foggy, 


58       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

chilly  Labrador  coast.  One  of  the  several  little 
hospitals,  established  by  the  untiring  efforts  of 
Doctor  Grenfell,  is  located  at  Battle  Harbor.  The 
Canadian  government  has  presented  him  with  a 
small  coast  steamer,  which  serves  him  a  good  purpose 
in  visiting  the  different  villages  along  the  coast 
during  the  summer,  and  in  the  winter,  he  makes 
his  trips  over  ice  and  snow  in  a  dog  sledge.  Of  such 
a  devoted,  self-sacrificing  man  we  can  say  in  truth: 

"Men  approach  nearer  to  the  gods  in  no  way 
than  by  giving  safety  to  men." — Cicero, 

The  hardships  these  fisherfolk  have  to  endure  in 
these  northern  waters,  during  the  sealing  season,  is 
best  shown  by  a  few  extracts  from  the  last  year's 
log-book  of  the  master  of  the  "Erik."  The  start 
was  made  from  St.  Johns,  Newfoundland,  March 
1 2th.  The  following  day  at  noon,  this  record  was 
made:  "Ten  ships  in  sight,  all  working  north, 
through  sheet  ice.  Gray  Islands  in  sight,  bearing 
northwest  twenty  miles.  4  P.  M.  Thirteen  ships  in 
sight,  all  making  way  through  sheet  ice.  The 
afternoon  of  the  same  day,  and  all  next  day,  severe 
snow  storms  were  encountered  and  the  ships,  under 
full  steam,  had  to  break  through  the  ice.  March 
1 5th  a  herd  of  1,000  seal  was  discovered  and  530 
animals  were  taken." 

"March  i6th,  12  M.  Wind  east,  with  snow.  All 
hands  out,  working  on  ice.  Ship  picking  up  pans, 
(dead  seal  on  floating  ice).  6  P.  M.  All  hands 
on  board  with  ninety-four  flags  out  (flag  planted 
on  an  ice-floe  secures  ownership  of  the  dead) .  Reports 


77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       59 

1,000  seals  panned.  8  P.  M.  Wind  east,  strong, 
with  snow;  ship  picking  up  pans.  9  P.  M.  Burnt 
down  (ship  stopped,  fire  low).  March  iyth  12  M. 
Wind  northeast,  strong,  ship  picking  up  seals.  4 
P.  M.  Ship  making  good  way  through  sheet  ice,  pick- 
ing up  seal.  8  P.  M.  All  hands  on  board.  Reports 
8,000  seals  panned.  Ship  burnt  down  in  heavy  ice." 
The  next  day  the  log  says:  "7  P.  M.  All  hands  on 
board  with  7,000  seals  panned,  ship  burned  down  in 
heavy  ice."  "Ship  jammed  in  heavy  ice."  "Heavy 
gale".  "Snowstorms."  "Ship  under  full  steam, 
butting  heavy  ice."  "Burnt  down."  "Making  five 
inches  of  water  per  hour."  These  are  expressions 
found  on  almost  every  page  of  the  log  book  and 
give  some  idea  of  the  hardships  a  sealer  must  en- 
counter on  these  annual  trips  for  seal.  The  last 
entry  was  made  on  April  226..  "12  M.  Wind  east, 
raining.  Laying  in  seal  on  the  ice.  2  P.  M.  Tried 
seals,  but  found  them  wild.  2:10  P.  M.  Full  speed 
ahead,  homeward  bound.  4  P.  M.  Wind  south- 
west with  thick  fog  and  rain.  12  P.  M.  Fog  lifting." 
It  is  evident  that  such  cruises  for  seal  are  not  only 
attended  by  many  hardships,  but,  also,  by  no  incon- 
siderable risk  to  life.  Jumping  from  one  pan  of  ice 
to  another,  although  closely  packed,  in  the  excite- 
ment of  the  chase,  must  necessarily  not  only  result 
occasionally  in  a  cold  bath,  but  in  danger  by  drown- 
ing, in  spite  of  the  skilful  use  of  the  gaff,  and  the 
aid  of  near-by  companions.  There  are  other  and  more 
serious  dangers  the  sealer  has  to  face.  A  few  years  ago, 
a  sealing  vessel,  carrying  two  hundred  and  one  men, 
lost  forty- three  in  a  gale  and  severe  snow-storm. 


60       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

It  was  the  only  vessel  which  permitted  the  crew  to 
go  on  the  ice  that  day.  When  some  distance  from 
the  ship,  a  sudden,  violent  gale,  accompanied  by 
a  raging  snowstorm,  set  in,  which  made  the  return 
to  the  ship  a  matter  of  extreme  difficulty,  and  forty- 
three  perished  from  the  effects  of  exposure  and  the 
intense  cold.  The  cod-fishery,  during  the  summer 
months,  can  by  no  means  be  looked  upon  as  a  pas- 
time. The  frequent  drizzling  rains,  the  mists  and 
fogs,  the  chilly  weather,  and  frequent  squalls  make 
the  life  on  board  the  schooners  and  in  the  open  boats 
anything  but  pleasant.  And  yet  there  is,  and  there 
always  has  been,  a  certain  degree  of  fascination 
about  the  periphery  of  danger  zones  best  illustrated 
by  military  and  marine  life.  The  seaman  is  not 
happy  unless  he  is  on  the  sea,  and  the  real  soldier 
is  out  of  his  element  unless  there  is  some  prospect 
for  him  to  show  his  fighting  strength  and  skill.  The 
sealing  vessels  have  no  difficulty  in  enlisting  the 
services  of  a  full  crew  year  after  year.  The  fact  is, 
there  are  more  applications  than  berths,  and  the  cap- 
tains of  the  sealers  have  a  large  material  from  which 
to  select  their  crew.  As  each  man  receives  his  share 
of  the  profits  of  the  trip,  the  best  possible  efforts  of 
the  men  thus  employed  are  secured.  If  the  trip  is 
a  profitable  one,  each  man  is  benefited  in  proportion 
to  the  total  gain;  if  it  proves  a  failure,  the  loss  affects 
them  all  collectively  and  individually. 

It  is  among  these  fishermen  and  sealers  on  the 
bleak  coast  of  Labrador  that  Dr.  Grenfell  has  cast 
his  lot  and  carries  on  his  humanitarian  work,  and 
they  know  how  to  appreciate  it.  Along  the  whole 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       61 

coast  of  Labrador,  his  name  has  become  a  household 
word,  and  wherever  his  benevolent  work  carries 
him,  he  is  looked  upon  as  the  benefactor  of  the  men 
who  live  and  toil  on  the  sea. 


FROM  LABRADOR  TO  GREENLAND 


After  leaving  the  Strait  of  Belle  Isle  and  passing 
Battle  Harbor,  we  sailed  along  the  coast  of  Labrador 
as  far  as  Round  Hills  Island,  which  was  reached  at 
midnight.  Few  icebergs  were  seen  on  this  part  of 
the  route,  and  most  of  them  were  small.  The  foggy 
condition  of  the  coast  excluded  the  sight  of  land. 
Saturday  morning,  July  22d,  promised  a  more 
agreeable  day,  the  fog  had  vanished  and  an  occasional 
peep  of  the  sun  through  the  broken  clouds  cheered 
the  deck,  and  the  heaving  bosom  of  the  ocean  was 
the  playground  of  many  arctic  birds,  guillemots, 
and  gulls. 

After  leaving  the  dreary,  fog-clad  coast  of  Lab- 
rador, the  captain  set  his  compass  for  Holstenborg, 
Greenland,  800  miles  almost  due  north.  The  track 
of  the  ship  will  be  over  a  part  of  the  ocean  noted  for 
its  depth,  which,  on  an  average,  exceeds  a  mile. 
The  nights  are  becoming  shorter,  day  after  day,  as 
we  steam  northward,  being  now  crowded  in  between 
late  twilight  and  early  dawn;  the  former  in  this 
latitude,  at  this  time  of  the  year,  does  not  vanish 
until  10  P.  M.,  and  dawn  creeps  in  at  half -past  two 
in  the  morning.  Toward  evening,  the  first  day 
out,  the  long  swells  of  the  sea  were  lashed  by  a  stiff 
gale,  which  soon  broke  the  long  swells  into  short, 
choppy,  foam-crested  waves.  It  was  then  we  were 
reminded  of  the  beautiful  lines: 

63 


64       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

"The  twilight  is  sad  and  cloudy; 
The  wind  blows  wild  and  free, 
And  like  the  wings  of  sea-birds 
Flash  the  white  caps  of  the  sea." 

— Longfellow. 

The  little  steamer,  groaning  under  the  heavy 
cargo  of  coal,  responded  gracefully  to  the  wild 
movements  of  the  sea,  and  assumed  the  gait  so 
pleasing  to  the  lover  of  the  sea — a  compromise  be- 
tween pitching  and  rolling.  Once  out  of  the  Labra- 
dor current,  we  looked  in  vain  for  icebergs  and, 
from  the  appearance  and  action  of  the  sea,  and  the 
temperature,  we  could  imagine  ourselves  on  the 
much-frequented  highway  from  New  York  to  Eng- 
land this  time  of  the  year. 

That  July  23d  was  Sunday,  we  could  not  mistake, 
as  the  crew  observed  this  day  of  rest  as  far  as  could 
be  done,  even  when  the  vessel  was  under  full  sail. 
Up  to  now,  the  furnaces  were  fed  with  coal  from 
the  deck.  Two  men  kept  the  bunkers  brimful  all 
the  time  by  shoveling  coal  from  the  deck  into  their 
gaping  apertures.  This  day  the  shovels  on  deck 
were  at  rest,  and  the  men  who  handled  them  during 
week  days,  smoked  their  pipes  on  deck  and  in  the 
forecastle.  The  two  firemen  below  remained  at 
their  posts.  Another  unmistakable  Sunday  indica- 
tion was  a  dish  served  for  breakfast,  called  "bruise" 
in  the  sailor  language,  a  mixture  of  salt  codfish, 
steamed  biscuits,  and  slices  of  bacon,  a  wholesome 
and  savory  dish.  At  the  place  where  we  are  now, 
half-way  between  Labrador  and  Greenland,  the 
ocean  has  a  depth  of  1,500  fathoms,  as  indicated  on 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       65 

the  mariner's  map.  The  same  authority  makes 
the  statement  that  the  floor  of  the  ocean,  as  ascer- 
tained by  soundings,  shows  sand  and  coral.  Coral 
formation,  at  such  great  depth,  could  only  have 
taken  place  when  this  part  of  the  earth  was  under 
the  influence  of  a  tropic  or  sub-tropic  climate,  and 
when  the  ocean  here  was  a  shallow  body  of  water, 
as  the  coral  polyps  cannot  live  below  the  depth  of 
eighteen  fathoms  of  water,  and  are  inhabitants  of 
the  tropics.  This  ancient  coral-bed,  formed  ages 
and  ages  ago,  is  a  silent  witness  of  the  insidious 
changes  wrought  by  nature,  silently,  but  progress- 
ively, on  the  surface  of  the  earth  and  the  floor  of 
the  mighty  ocean. 

We  are  now  on  the  boundless,  trackless  ocean, 
far  away  from  the  pathways  of  ships  engaged  in 
business,  commerce,  or  war.  Our  route  is  a  lonely, 
deserted  one,  and  there  is  no  use  in  looking  for  puffs 
of  smoke  or  sails  until  we  expect  to  be  met  by  the 
"Roosevelt."  The  leaden  dome  of  clouds  veils  the 
sun,  which,  only  for  a  few  moments,  could  be  seen 
through  a  narrow,  moving  window  cut  in  the  gray 
clouds  by  an  increasing  breeze  from  the  land  of  ice 
and  snow. 

Animal  life  has  forsaken  us,  with  the  exception 
of  a  few  sea  gulls  who  follow  in  the  wake  of  the  ship 
with  an  unfailing  hope  that  sooner  or  later  the  gen- 
erous steward  will  reward  their  perseverance  and 
confidence  by  throwing  overboard  table  and  kitchen 
waste,  on  which  they  expect  to  feast.  What  con- 
stant and  persistent  sea  companions  these  birds 
are!  They  are  found  wherever  human  beings  have 

6 


66       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

found  their  way  by  sea  or  ice,  and,  if  they  could 
speak,  it  would  be  useless  for  Commander  Peary  to 
make  another  attempt  to  find  the  pole,  as  these 
homeless,  wandering,  fearless,  strong-winged  birds 
have,  undoubtedly,  ere  this,  looked  down  upon  the 
desolate  pole,  in  search  of  a  paradise,  peopled 
with  fish,  harmless,  easy  of  catch,  and  palatable 
to  their  tastes.  All  credit  to  these  tireless  sailors 
and  intrepid  explorers! 

THE    SEA    GULL 

"Bold  bird  of  every  clime! 
Swift  traveler  from  pole  to  pole, 
Citiz'n  of  the  deep  ocean, 
Sky,  ice  and  eternal  snow, 
Tell  the  secrets  of  the  pole." 

Monday,  July  24th.  We  have  spent  the  last 
night  on  board  ship.  It  was  a  very  short  one,  as 
the  dim  twilight  did  not  yield  to  somber  night  until 
well  nigh  eleven  o'clock,  and  dawn  chased  away 
the  dying  darkness  at  half-past  one  in  the  morning. 
Night  is  dying  a  victim  of  the  approaching,  con- 
quering midnight  sun.  The  master  of  day  is  receding, 
but  we  are  in  hot  pursuit  of  him,  and  to-night  will 
witness  the  last  struggle  between  night  and  day. 
At  midnight,  it  will  be  light.  Henceforth,  for  the 
next  four  weeks,  lanterns  and  lights  of  any  kind 
will  be  useless.  At  midnight  we  will  not  see  the 
sun,  but  we  will  see  his  victory  over  darkness. 

"Yon  light  is  not  daylight,  I  know  it  well; 
It  is  some  meteor  that  the  sun  exhales, 
To  be  to  thee  this  night  a  torch -bearer." 

-Shakespeare. 


/AT  THE  HEART  OP  THE  ARCTICS       67 

For  us,  the  star-light  nights,  for  the  next  four 
weeks,  are  over.  The  sun  will  assert  his  majesty 
and  power  by  day  and  by  night,  and  the  smaller 
lights  of  heaven,  the  moon  and  the  stars,  will  be 
lost  in  his  overpowering  splendor.  Continuous 
daylight  for  at  least  a  month!  What  an  incentive 
for  work,  and  what  little  inducements  to  court  sleep! 
I  have  seen  the  midnight  sun,  in  all  his  splendor,  at 
North  Cape,  Norway,  and  remember  the  short  nights 
in  Russia,  Siberia,  and  Alaska;  and  have  learned 
from  experience  what  nightless  days  mean  in  the 
way  of  chasing  away  sleep.  During  the  short  summer, 
the  Eskimos  have  no  fixed  time  for  sleep,  and  I 
presume  the  same  uncertainty  in  dividing  the  twen- 
ty-four hours  properly  into  time  for  work  and  rest 
awaits  us.  It  has  been  my  experience  that  con- 
tinuous daylight  for  more  than  a  week  or  two  is 
fatiguing,  as  custom  has  taught  us  to  work  at  least 
as  long  as  the  sun  shines  and  reserve  at  least  half 
of  the  night  for  rest  and  sleep ;  and  habit  is  a  stubborn 
thing,  and,  only  too  often,  an  unconquerable  master. 
We  had  a  clear,  although  cloudy  day  with  a  strong 
breeze  until  noon,  when  a  dense  fog  set  in,  the  sea 
became  smooth,  and  an  icy  wind  met  us — all  indi- 
cations that  we  were  nearing  an  ice-field.  This 
suspicion  was  soon  confirmed  by  the  looming  up,  in 
the  dense  fog,  of  a  number  of  immense  icebergs. 
Caution  now  became  necessary.  The  sails,  which 
had  been  made  use  of  since  morning  to  increase  the 
speed  and  steady  the  vessel,  were  hauled  in,  and, 
at  half  speed,  the  little  ship  crawled  along  slowly 
between  the  bergs.  In  a  few  hours  we  emerged 


68       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

from  the  fog  into  the  clear,  bracing  atmosphere, 
when  only  a  few  icebergs  were  sighted  in  the  dis- 
tance; evidently  the  fog  was  hovering  over  the 
congregation  of  numerous  large  bergs.  In  passing 
through  the  fog,  the  whistle  remained  silent,  because, 
in  this  desert  ocean,  there  was  no  need  of  announc- 
ing our  presence  as  there  was  nothing  here  but  the 
icebergs,  and  these  are  not  known  to  get  out  of  the 
way  of  any  one.  Late  in  the  evening,  we  obtained 
a  glimpse  of  the  pale  sun  through  a  break  in  the 
leaden  clouds,  and,  about  the  same  time,  encoun- 
tered a  school  of  whales  gamboling  near  the  vessel 
and  throwing  jets  of  water  high  into  the  air  through 
the  spiracles  or  blow-holes.  One  of  them,  in  his 
curiosity,  came  almost  to  the  side  of  the  ship,  where 
he  appeared,  an  enormous  black  mass  rising  high 
above  the  surface  of  the  water.  Having  satisfied 
himself  as  to  what  the  ship  really  was,  he  plunged 
head  foremost,  into  the  green  element  and  disap- 
peared as  suddenly  as  he  came  into  sight.  We  had 
nothing  to  fear  from  these  monsters  of  the  sea. 
Formerly  sailors  in  small  crafts  did. 

"Seamen  have  a  custom  when  they  meet  a 
whale,  to  fling  him  out  an  empty  tub  by  way  of 
amusement,  to  divert  him  from  laying  violent 
hands  upon  the  ship." — Swift. 

We  were  secure,  and  as  we  had  no  evil  design 
on  these  giants  of  the  sea,  the  meeting  passed  off 
without  accident  or  bloodshed.  Sixty  feet  is  about 
the  maximum  length  of  the  mysticetus,  or  Greenland 
whale.  Mr.  Scoresby  found  that  of  322  animals, 
in  the  capture  of  which  he  was  concerned,  none 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS   69 

occurred  exceeding  fifty-eight  feet  in  length;  and 
he,  therefore,  places  no  reliance  on  the  report  of 
any  specimen  exceeding  seventy  feet.  The  jets  of 
spray  and  water,  thrown  into  the  air  when  they 
spouted,  reached  a  height  of  at  least  forty  to 
fifty  feet.  The  tail  of  the  whale  does  not  rise  ver- 
tically like  that  of  most  fishes,  but  is  flat  and  hori- 
zontal, only  four  or  five  feet  long,  but  more  than 
twenty  feet  broad.  Its  power  is  tremendous.  A 
single  stroke  throws  a  large  boat,  with  all  its  inmates, 
into  the  air.  Sometimes  the  whale  places  himself 
in  a  perpendicular  position,  with  the  head  downwards, 
and  rearing  his  tail  on  high,  beats  the  water  with 
frightful  violence.  On  these  occasions,  the  sea 
foams  and  the  spray  darkens  the  air;  the  lashing  is 
heard  several  miles  off,  like  the  roar  of  a  distant 
storm.  The  tail  is  the  motor  of  the  whale  and  the 
fins  merely  direct  and  steady  the  movements.  The 
razor-back  whale  (Balaena  physalis)  is  a  much 
larger  animal.  One  of  these  animals,  found  dead 
in  Davis  Strait,  measured  105  feet  in  length.  An- 
other whale  found  in  the  arctic  waters  is  the  sperm- 
whale  (Physeter  microps),  the  most  valuable  of  all 
whales.  During  the  first  half  of  the  nineteenth 
century,  different  species  of  whale  were  very  numer- 
ous along  the  west  coast  of  Greenland,  which,  for 
fifty  years,  was  the  favorite  hunting  ground  of  the 
British  and  American  whalers.  The  wholesale  slaugh- 
ter carried  on,  year  after  year,  by  large  whaling 
fleets,  has  decimated  their  number  to  a  deploring 
extent,  and  has  driven  most  of  the  survivors  farther 
north  to  regions  less  accessible  to  the  whalers. 


70       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

Tuesday,  July  25th.  The  average  temperature 
for  the  day  was  44°  F.  At  midnight,  twilight  and 
dawn  met  and  banished  the  darkness  of  night.  The 
sun,  still  in  hiding,  cast  his  beams  of  light  east  and 
west  without  showing  any  partiality  to  either  di- 
rection. They  blended  their  luminous  sparks,  in 
this  desolate  part  of  the  world,  in  the  form  of  a  dim 
midnight  twilight  and  beginning  dawn.  From  now 
on,  until  the  end  of  the  short,  arctic  summer,  moon 
and  stars  will  be  powerless  in  the  presence  of  the 
midnight  sun,  and  we  can  no  longer  say  with  Job: 

"The  morning  stars  sing  together,  and  all  the 
sons  of  God  shouted  for  joy." — XXXVIII,  7. 

This  may  be  unfortunate  for  us  as  star  gazers 
when  we  reach  our  destination,  as 

"Her    clearer    stars    glow    round    the    frozen 
pole." — Pope. 

Since  we  left  Sydney,  the  frequent  fogs  and  cloudy 
sky  have  made  it  impossible  for  the  captain  to  take 
an  observation.  We  have  sailed  by  the  compass 
and  are,  as  yet,  far  from  land,  and  in  water  from 
a  mile  to  a  mile  and  a  half  in  depth;  hence,  there  is 
no  danger  of  shipwreck  on  rocks.  The  captain,  a 
very  cautious  man,  is  anxious  to  know  exactly  where 
we  are,  and  has  been  asking  himself,  again  and 
again, 

"Where  are  we?     Ye  immortal  gods,  where  in 
the  world  are  we?" — Cicero. 

This  burning  question  he  answered  to  his  satis- 
faction, when,  at  9:15  A.  M.,  the  curtain  of  clouds 
was  lifted  from  the  sun  and  a  sudden  flash  of  intense 


/AT  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       71 

light  poured  down  on  the  cold,  somber  surface  of 
the  ocean.  The  noon  observation  showed  that  we 
were  in  Davis  Strait,  in  latitude  63.1°  N.,  longitude 
53°  W.  The  sudden  bursting  forth  of  the  sun 
changed  the  appearance  of  the  ocean,  the  clouds, 
and  the  fog,  from  which  we  had  just  emerged.  The 
face  of  the  ocean,  heretofore  unfriendly,  sullen,  of 
a  dull  green  color,  now  reflected,  mirror-like, 
the  delicate  blue  of  the  northern  sky,  the  clouds 
changed  their  dull,  leaden  hue  for  a  white,  fleecy 
dress  and  the  fog  behind  us  became  a  delicate  grayish 
white  veil,  suspended  from  an  invisible  support  and 
touching  the  calm,  rippling,  blue  surface  of  the 
ocean.  The  innumerable  water-fowl,  seagulls  and 
guillemots  in  the  air  and  on  the  water  basked  in 
the  sunshine,  and  the  mercury  in  the  thermometer, 
in  a  few  minutes,  took  a  sudden  leap  from  44°  F. 
to  49°  F.  The  warmth  and  genial  influence  of  the 
sun  brought  cheer  on  the  deck,  that  had  been  so 
long  in  the  shadow  of  gloomy  clouds  and  chilled  by 
weeping  fogs. 

It  was  not  long  before  we  sighted  another  field 
of  icebergs,  resplendent  in  the  sunshine,  sailing  in 
a  group  in  the  direction  of  the  current.  I  counted 
eleven  at  one  time.  They  had  evidently  been  on 
the  way  for  a  long  time,  judging  from  the  extent  to 
which  their  size  and  form  had  been  affected  by  the 
sun  and  waves.  Some  retained  their  balance, 
others  were  leaning  toward  the  weather  side,  and 
some  of  them  were  turned  clear  over  with  the  orig- 
inal base  high  in  the  air.  During  the  afternoon, 
fleeting  fogs  in  the  bright  sunshine,  created  pano- 


72       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

ramie  views,  great  in  their  variety  and  exquisite  in 
their  beauty.  The  fogs  were  low,  not  exceeding 
the  masts  of  the  vessel  in  height,  and  traveled  fast, 
coming  and  disappearing  every  few  minutes,  leaving 
spaces  between  them  where  the  sun  painted  silvery 
pathways  among  the  chasing  fogs.  When  the  fogs 
veiled  the  sun,  they  paled  his  face  like  that  of  the 
moon,  and  brushed  away  the  warm  breath  of  his 
rays.  All  objects  in  the  fog,  birds  and  icebergs, 
were  greatly  magnified  in  their  size  at  the  expense 
of  a  loss  of  their  sharp  outlines.  Veiling  and  unveil- 
ing of  these  things  were  only  a  matter  of  a  few  min- 
utes, and  during  the  intervals  the  sunshine  was 
bright  and  cheering.  Repeatedly  the  action  of  the 
rays  of  the  sun  on  the  disappearing,  fugitive  clouds 
painted  the  faint  outlines  of  a  rainbow,  a  fog  rain- 
bow, which,  however,  always  lacked  vivid  color- 
ation. The  most  conspicuous  colors  were  pale 
drab  and  a  light  gray.  This  kind  of  a  rainbow,  in 
the  sailor's  language,  is  called  a  "fog-eater,"  and  is 
looked  upon  with  favor,  for  it  means  to  the  sailor 
that  the  fogs  are  low,  thin,  and  fleeting. 

At  eight  o'clock  in  the  evening,  the  fog  became 
more  dense  and  motionless.  We  saw  Greenland 
sooner  than  we  expected.  Sailing  at  full  speed 
through  the  dense  fog,  all  at  once  the  ship  came  to  a 
sudden  standstill,  the  propeller  was  reversed.  The 
watch  had  espied  land  ahead  of  us.  When  I  came  on 
deck,  we  were  within  half  a  mile  of  two  small,  low 
islands.  The  vessel  was  turned  seaward  and  proceeded 
at  half  speed.  On  consulting  the  chart,  the  captain 
ascertained  that  we  were  at  the  entrance  of  God- 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       73 

haab  Fiord,  and  very  near  the  coast.  The  fog  was 
so  dense  that  the  islands  were  out  of  sight  in  a  few 
minutes.  We  were  very  fortunate  in  safely  escap- 
ing the  first  source  of  danger  in  coming  so  unex- 
pectedly, in  such  close  proximity,  to  the  treacherous 
coast  of  Greenland. 

The  captain  had  orders  to  sail  for  Holstenborg, 
but  we  got  the  first  glimpse  of  Greenland,  or  rather 
the  islands  guarding  the  Fiord  of  Godhaab,  ninety 
miles  south  from  Holstenborg.  The  strong  current 
had  carried  the  "Erik"  out  of  the  set  course,  the 
fog  hid  the  coast,  and  before  we  had  expected  it, 
we  had  found  what  we  were  in  search  of — the  land 
of  snow  and  ice. 


GREENLAND 


"The  keen,  clear  air — the  splendid  sight—- 
We waken  to  a  world  of  ice; 
Where  all  things  are  enshrined  in  light 
As  by  some  Genii's  quaint  device." 

— Norton. 

As  I  am  writing  this  I  am  in  full  view  of  the 
bleak,  stern,  rugged  coast  of  Greenland,  half-way 
between  Godhaab  and  Holstenborg.  We  are,  in- 
deed, in  a  new  world,  but  an  old  one  by  discovery. 
From  the  time  we  left  Sydney,  every  day  revealed 
to  us  new  and  convincing  proofs  that  we  were  coming 
nearer  and  nearer  to  the  limits  of  animal  and  vege- 
table life.  My  long  and  ardent  desire  to  see  the 
heart  of  the  arctics  is  about  to  be  realized.  We  are 
fast  approaching  that  part  of  the  arctic  world  where 
explorers  of  the  most  enlightened  nations  have  made 
their  headquarters  for  a  final  dash  for  the  object  of 
their  search — the  pole.  Greenland  is  nearer  to 
the  north  pole  than  any  other  known  land,  and 
hence,  for  more  than  fifty  years,  it  has  been  made 
the  starting  point  for  the  race  to  the  pole.  This 
strange  country  of  ice  and  snow  was  well  known  to 
the  civilized  nations  long  before  America  was  dis- 
covered. History  relates  that  this  island-continent, 
or  ice-covered  archipelago,  was  first  seen  by  the 
Norman  rover,  Gnunbjorn,  and  later  by  Erik  the 
Red,  who  was  banished  in  982  A.  D.  for  three  years, 
from  Iceland,  for  murder.  After  an  aimless  sea 

75 


76       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

voyage,  he  found  the  east  coast  of  Greenland  and 
landing,  probably  in  midsummer,  found  the  moun- 
tainsides and  valleys  covered  with  grass,  called  it 
"Greenland"  to  distinguish  it  from  the  sterile  hills 
and  mountains  of  the  island  he  was  forced  to  leave. 
As  the  period  of  expatriation  of  this  criminal  was  only 
three  years,  we  have  reason  to  believe  that  he  gave 
this  seductive  name  to  the  island  he  re-discovered 
for  the  purpose  of  inducing  his  countrymen  to 
follow  him  to  Greenland  on  his  return  to  Iceland. 
It  is  natural  to  suppose  that,  for  selfish  reasons,  he 
would  encourage  immigration  to  the  land  that  had 
given  him  safety  and  shelter  while  he  was  under 
sentence  for  a  capital  crime.  On  his  return  to  Ice- 
land, he  succeeded  in  interesting  his  countrymen  in 
his  scheme  to  settle  Greenland,  and  retraced  his 
steps  with  twenty-five  vessels,  of  which  only  fourteen 
reached  their  destination. 

The  final  fate  of  the  second  discoverer  of  Green- 
land is  wrapped  in  obscurity.  In  999  A.  D.,  Leif, 
his  son,  visited  the  court  of  Norway,  where,  under 
the  influence  of  the  then  reigning  king,  he  was  Chris- 
tianized and  returned  to  Greenland  with  monks 
and  established  a  number  of  colonies  near  Cape 
Farewell.  These  colonies  prospered  for  a  long  time, 
but  were  extinguished  by  the  hostile  natives  and 
"black  death,"  an  epidemic  which  raged  in  Europe 
from  1402  to  1404,  and  at  last  reached  Greenland. 
The  colonies  became  extinct  about  the  beginning  of 
the  sixteenth  century.  Except  the  scanty  ruins  of 
a  church,  the  only  vestiges  of  these  early  settlements 
now  remaining  consist  of  low,  naked  walls,  which 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       77 

must  have  served  as  pens  for  sheltering  cattle,  and 
an  inscription,  in  the  Runic  language,  on  a  stone 
slab,  found  in  1824,  planted  erect  in  the  ground, 
on  the  island  of  Kingitorsoak,  latitude  73°  north, 
bearing  the  date  April  25,  1135.  The  inscription 
has  never  been  completely  deciphered.  Dr.  T. 
Stewart  Traill,  of  Liverpool,  has  interpreted  this 
much  of  it:  "Oelligr  Sigwathson,  and  Baaos  Tor- 
tarson  and  Oenrithi  Osson,  on  the  Saturday  before 
Gagndag  erected  Thorward's  monument,  and  wrote 
this."  (And  then  what  remained  is  unintelligible.) 
[Gagndag  was  a  holiday  of  the  Catholic  church 
in  Iceland.] 

More  than  600  years  after  the  settlement  of 
Greenland  by  Icelanders,  Baffin  visited  the  island 
and  found  it  bare  and  bleak,  so  called  it  "Land  of 
Desolation."  A  century  after  Erik  landed,  a  con- 
siderable population  from  Iceland  had  settled  on  the 
west  coast.  For  several  centuries,  these  people 
kept  in  touch  with  Europe,  and  it  is  said  they  also 
discovered  America,  which  is  very  likely,  as  their 
pursuit  of  food-yielding  sea-animals  would,  no 
doubt,  extend  their  chase  at  least  as  far  as  the  coast 
of  Labrador.  Later,  owing  to  stirring  events  in 
Europe,  this  communication  was  intercepted  and 
the  colonies  were  practically  forgotten,  and  all 
knowledge  of  them  was  lost  after  their  ex- 
tinction by  hostile  natives  and  the  fatal  epidemic. 
The  colonists,  and  the  natives  associated  with  them, 
had  become  nominally  Christians,  and  maintained 
a  republican  form  of  government,  but  shortly  before 
the  catastrophes  that  blotted  them  out,  they  recog- 


7$       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

nized  the  king  of  Norway  as  their  sovereign.  Then 
follows  a  blank  in  the  history  of  Greenland,  covering 
a  space  of  200  years,  until  Davis,  Hudson  and  Baffin, 
the  bold  English  navigators  (1585-1616),  visited  the 
west  coast  and  began  their  history-making  explora- 
tions of  the  far  North.  Several  expeditions  sent  by 
the  king  of  Denmark  (1585-1670)  to  find  the  colonies 
were  fruitless.  In  1576,  Frobisher  claims  to  have 
re-discovered  a  part  of  the  long-forgotten  Greenland. 
In  1587,  Davis  sailed  along  the  west  coast  as  far  as 
latitude  73°  north;  in  1610,  Hudson  advanced 
to  latitude  76°  north;  and  in  1616,  Baffin  reached 
latitude  77^°  north,  without  discovering  any  signs 
of  a  European  settlement.  In  1727,  under  Fred- 
erick IV,  of  Denmark,  after  the  missionary,  Hans 
Egede,  had  founded  Godhaab  in  1721,  firm  new 
foothold  of  Europeans  was  gained  on  the  west  coast. 
Hans  Egede,  an  enthusiast  in  the  interest  of  Green- 
land, succeeded  in  securing  the  sum  of  $10,000  by 
voluntary  subscriptions,  and  landed,  with  his  family 
and  forty  settlers,  at  Baal  river,  in  latitude  64°  north, 
July  3,  1721.  He  was  afterward  appointed  mission- 
ary, by  the  home  government,  (Danish),  with  a  small 
salary.  The  Danish  government  occasionally  granted 
some  aid  to  the  colony.  He  labored  with  great  zeal 
in  civilizing  and  Christianizing  the  natives  until 
1736.  In  1757,  the  year  before  his  death,  he  pub- 
lished his  book,  "Description  of  Greenland,"  in  the 
Danish  language. 

In  1733,  Herrnhuter  missionaries  were  sent  to 
the  west  coast,  and  a  number  of  settlements  were 
established.  Whalers  from  Europe  and  America 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       79 

aided  the  colonists.  Since  Greenland  has  been  under 
Danish  rule,  the  southern  part  has  been  divided 
into  thirteen  colonies,  the  most  northern  settle- 
ment being  Upernavik.  The  colonies  and  settle- 
ments are  presided  over  by  two  superintendents, 
one  for  the  northern  and  one  for  the  southern  dis- 
trict. Each  colony  and  each  settlement  has  a  gov- 
ernor and  mechanics,  who  regulate  the  affairs  of  the 
natives  and  give  them  instruction.  In  1805,  Green- 
land had  a  population  of  6,046;  in  1874,  9,843;  and 
in  1885,  9,892.  The  present  number  of  inhabitants 
does  not  exceed  10,000,  including  the  230  to  250 
Danish  officials  and  settlers.  New  Herrnhut,  founded 
in  1733,  is  the  largest  and  most  prosperous  colony. 
It  is  the  intellectual  center  of  Greenland.  It  has  a 
seminary  and  a  small  printing  plant  for  the  dissem- 
ination of  spiritual  and  educational  literature,  in 
the  native  language.  Besides  this,  there  are  a  number 
of  small  trading  stations,  which  are  visited  about 
three  times  every  summer  by  vessels,  carrying  the 
mail  and  bringing  supplies  in  exchange  for  furs, 
eiderdown,  and  ivory,  which  the  natives  bring  to 
these  places  from  great  distances. 

Greenland  is  the  largest  island  in  the  world.  It 
is  an  island-continent  familiar  only  to  explorers, 
whalers,  and  the  few  white  people  living  there  in 
the  service  of  the  Danish  government. 

The  many  books  written  by  explorers,  who  at- 
tempted to  reach  the  pole  by  making  Greenland 
the  base  of  their  expedition  to  the  farthest  north, 
have  been  read  by  millions  of  people;  but  no  one 
can  obtain  a  correct  idea  of  this  strange  and  mys- 


8o       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

terious  icebound  and  ice-covered  land,  from  the 
best  written  and  most  accurate  accounts.  To  know 
this,  the  most  northern  of  all  known  lands,  it  must 
be  seen.  The  complicated  topography  of  the  coun- 
try, the  interesting  native  population,  the  mighty 
ice-cap,  the  countless  glaciers,  the  floating  moun- 
tains of  ice,  the  resistless,  moving  fields  of  floe-ice, 
the  gigantic  sea-animals,  the  scanty  but  beautiful 
flora,  the  long  summer  day,  and  the  equally  long 
winter  night,  are  things  which  must  be  seen  to  be 
understood  and  appreciated.  The  average  layman 
is  impressed  with  the  idea  that  Greenland  is  an  unin- 
habitable wilderness  of  ice  and  snow,  and  it  is  hard 
to  make  him  believe  that  the  arctic  summer,  with 
its  midnight  sun,  even  as  far  north  as  Etah,  the 
very  heart  of  the  arctics,  is  delightful. 

It  has  a  temperature  usually  ranging  from  31° 
to  55°  F.,  with  sea  and  air  teeming  with  animal 
life,  the  valleys  and  hillsides  clothed  with  verdure, 
wherever  there  is  enough  soil  for  seeds  to  germinate, 
and  where  beautiful  tiny  flowers  meet  the  visitor's 
eye  and  impart  a  warmth  to  the  arctic  scenery, 
which  must  be  seen  to  be  felt.  Greenland  was 
formerly  supposed  to  be  a  peninsula  of  the  Ameri- 
can continent,  or  an  archipelago,  connected  by  a 
mass  of  ice.  Its  insularity  was  discovered  by  Com- 
mander Peary  in  1892,  who  ascertained  that  a  strait, 
believed  to  be  Nordenskiold's  Inlet,  stretches  from 
Lincoln  Sea  on  the  west  to  the  Arctic  Ocean  on  the 
northeast  coast.  From  south  to  north,  Greenland 
is  about  1,400  miles  in  length,  and  its  greatest  width, 
from  Cape  Hatherton  on  the  west  coast  to  Cape 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       81 

Bismarck  on  the  east  coast,  is  690  miles.  The 
interior  of  the  island  is  covered  by  eternal  ice,  which 
occupies  about  four-fifths  of  its  entire  surface.  This 
monster  ice-cap  stretches  out  arms  toward  the 
sea,  on  both  coasts,  in  the  form  of  innumerable 
glaciers. 

This  ice-cap  ascending  in  a  gradual  slope  from 
both  coasts  until  it  reaches  an  elevation  of  at  least 
8,000  feet,  has  been  explored  more  thoroughly  by 
Peary  than  by  any  one  else.  Twice  he  traveled 
from  coast  to  coast,  encountering  terrific  winds 
and  blinding  snow-storms,  which  more  than  once 
threatened  the  lives  of  the  entire  party.  In  1902, 
he  explored  the  northeastern  part  of  Greenland, 
and  described  the  coast  that  no  human  being  had 
ever  seen.  Contrary  to  what  had  been  claimed, 
he  found  in  this  remote  part  of  the  island,  musk- 
oxen,  polar  hares,  polar  bear  and  signs  of  ptarmigan. 

This  giant  island  lies  between  the  Atlantic  Ocean 
on  the  east,  and  Davis  Strait,  Baffin  Bay,  Smith 
Sound,  and  Kennedy  Canal  on  the  west,  and  extends 
from  its  most  southern  point,  Cape  Farewell,  from 
latitude  59°  48'  to  a  little  above  82°  north,  and 
comprises  500,000  square  miles,  of  which  400,000  are 
occupied  by  the  ice-cap,  or,  as  the  Danes  call  it, 
"ice-blink."  The  interior,  from  north  to  south, 
and  nearer  the  east  than  the  west  coast,  is  a  mesa  of 
ice  surrounded  by  mountains  spreading  over  the 
whole  island,  except  along  a  narrow  coast  fringe. 
The  interior  ice-cap  is  the  last  of  those  glacial  con- 
ditions which  for  ages  submerged  northern  Europe 
and  northern  America  in  its  deluge  of  ice.  Peary 


82       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

estimates  that  the  ice-cap  is  1,650  feet  in  thickness, 
so  that  the  high  plateau  is  in  reality  an  immense 
glacier,  which  is  moving  westward.  The  more  than 
100  large  coast  glaciers  are  merely  prolongations  of 
this  interior  ice,  which  reach  the  seashore  between 
clefts  in  the  coast  range  of  mountains.  The  traveler 
who  sails  along  the  west  coast  of  Greenland  is  seldom 
out  of  sight  of  the  ice-cap  glittering  in  the  sunshine, 
and,  in  dark  and  cloudy  weather,  lighting  up  the 
clouds  (ice-blink).  Peary  calls  the  interior  ice  an 
arctic  desert,  vastly  greater  than  the  African  Sahara, 
and  entirely  devoid  of  animal  and  vegetable  life. 
From  the  highest  point  of  this  ice-cap,  fierce  winds 
rake  its  surface  in  all  directions,  and  in  this  way 
progressive  increase  in  the  height  of  the  cap  is 
prevented.  The  natives  know  the  ice-cap  under  the 
name  of  Sermik  soak,  and  will  not  venture  upon 
it  if  they  can  avoid  it.  They  could  never  under- 
stand why  Commander  Peary  was  so  persistent  in 
exploring  it,  and,  at  last,  surmised  that  he  was  in 
search  of  another  race  in  the  farthest  North. 

On  the  east  coast,  the  island  is  cut  by  the  Franz- 
Josef  and  Fligely's  Fiords.  The  land,  free  of  ice,  is 
a  narrow  strip  along  the  coast,  five  to  twenty-five 
miles  in  width,  made  up  of  mountains  and  valleys 
and  deep-branching  fiords.  Numerous  deep  fiords, 
some  of  them  the  beds  of  great  glaciers,  fed  by  the 
ice  masses  of  the  interior  and  a  labyrinth  of  penin- 
sulas, bays  and  capes,  characterize  most  of  the 
coast.  Cliffs  and  mountains  from  1,500  to  7,000 
feet  in  height  skirt  the  coast  almost  everywhere. 
The  water  from  the  melting  ice  and  snow  is  drained 


/AT  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       83 

into  the  ocean  by  brooks  and  rivulets,  and  some  of 
these  watercourses  are  large  enough  to  merit  the 
name  of  river.  The  large  glaciers  moving  down  the 
fiords,  of  which  about  100  reach  the  sea,  break  off 
as  ice-bergs  at  the  edge  of  the  sea.  Numerous 
islands,  the  favorite  breeding  places  of  the  arctic  birds 
that  migrate  north  during  the  summer,  lie  along  the 
west  coast,  but  are  less  numerous  on  the  east  coast. 
"The  two  distinctive  features  are  the  rugged  and 
mountainous  coast  belt,  extending  from  two  to 
twenty  miles  inland,  and  the  ice-cap,  which  covers 
all  the  rest  of  the  island.  Mt.  Petermann,  at  the 
head  of  Franz- Josef  Fiord,  is  the  highest  peak, 
reaching  an  altitude  of  10,725  feet.  The  altitude  of 
the  west  coast  mountains,  south  of  the  Arctic  Circle 
is  about  i, 600  to  2,000  feet,  with  a  few  black  jagged 
summits,  that  rise  5,000  feet  above  the  sea."  (Peary.) 
Gneiss,  granite,  and  other  crystalline  formations 
form  the  bulk  of  the  base  rocks,  accessible  for  study. 
Sandstone,  slate  and  basalt  are  also  found  on  the 
west  coast,  the  latter  more  especially  on  Disco 
Island,  where  waves,  have  sculptured  it  into  fantastic 
and  picturesque  forms.  The  mineral  resources  of 
Greenland  are  meagre.  Cryolite  constitutes  the 
principal  article  of  export,  yielding  an  income,  in 
1874,  of  over  $186,000.  The  revenue  from  these 
mines,  located  in  the  southern  part  of  the  island, 
near  Ivigtut,  the  only  ones  in  the  world,  has  been 
gradually  on  the  increase  since.  Traces  of  copper 
have  been  found  at  different  points  on  the  west 
coast.  The  mineral,  endialyte,  found  near  the 
south  end  of  the  island,  is  also  a  no  inconsiderable 


84       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

revenue.  At  Godhaab,  the  smoke  topaz,  and  gar- 
nets of  an  inferior  quality,  are  also  found.  Coal  of 
good  quality  is  found  on  Disco  Island,  near  God- 
havn,  and,  it  is  said,  also  along  the  coast  of  Lady 
Franklin  Bay.  In  1886,  Peary  found  at  Atane 
Kerdluk,  near  Disco,  the  famous  fossil-beds  and 
petrified  wood.  Between  the  layers  of  sandstone 
were  the  distinct  outlines  of  leaves  and  ferns.  The 
presence  of  coal,  and  the  fossil  flora  and  fauna, 
show  types  of  vegetation  and  animal  life  akin  to 
some  now  found  within  the  tropics.  The  early 
explorers  found  volcanic  craters,  one  of  which 
emitted  steam  and  smoke  when  it  was  discovered. 
The  early  history  of  this  strange  island  is 
wrapped  in  mystery.  How  long  a  time  has  elapsed 
since  its  mountains  were  green  and  tree-clad,  and 
inhabited  by  animals  which,  now,  are  only  found 
in  the  temperate  zones  and  tropic  and  sub -tropic 
climates,  is  only  a  matter  of  mere  conjecture.  The 
stern  fact  remains  that,  since  then,  it  has  become 
the  coldest  region  in  the  world. 

CLIMATE 

No  foreigner  has  had  a  longer  and  greater  ex- 
perience in.  studying  the  climate  of  Greenland  than 
Commander  Peary,  and  I  will  let  him  speak  on  this 
subject. 

The  climate  and  seasons  within  the  arctic  circle 
exhibit  most  peculiar  and  striking  features,  which 
modify,  in  a  singular  manner,  the  whole  aspect  of 
nature.  The  climate  is  very  variable,  and  is  greatly 
influenced  by  a  branch  of  the  Gulf  Stream,  the  fierce 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       85 

winds  from  the  ice-cap,  and  the  amount  of  floating 
ice  along  the  coasts,  in  the  form  of  ice-floes  and  ice- 
bergs. Temperatures  of  — 60°  F.  to  — 70°  F.,  during 
the  winter,  have  been  recorded  in  northwest  Green- 
land. The  mean  winter  temperature  at  settlements 
in  south  Greenland  has  been  observed  as  varying 
between  — 70°  F.and  20°  F.  At  Upernavik  the  mean 
temperature  for  three  summer  months  is  38°  F.,  and 
farther  south,  at  Julianshaab,  it  is  48°  F.  More 
snow  falls  in  the  south  than  in  the  north.  The 
branch  of  the  Gulf  Stream  flowing  north  along  the 
west  coast  is  conducive  to  the  habitability  of  that 
region.  The  climate  is  more  severe  on  the  east  than 
the  west  coast.  The  mean  temperature  for  eight 
months,  at  McCormick  Bay  ascertained  by  Mr.  Ver- 
hoeff,  the  unfortunate  member  of  the  Peary  expedi- 
tion, 1891-1892,  was  as  follows: 

August  37.84° 
September   23.28° 
October  8.57° 
November— 0.16° 
December— 14.09° 
January— 20.53° 
February— 15.77° 
March— 22.12° 

This  table  appears  to  agree  with  observations  of 
the  governor  of  Godhavn,  who  informed  me  that 
in  that  part  of  Greenland,  and  throughout  the  south- 
ern part  of  the  island,  March  is  the  coldest  and  most 
disagreeable  month.  June,  July,  and  August  are 
the  summer  months  and  it  is  during  this  time  that 
vegetable  life  thrives  with  an  energy  unknown  in  the 


86       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

temperate  zones.  A  very  few  weeks,  under  the 
magic  influence  of  the  midnight  sun,  suffice  for  the 
grass  to  sprout  and  grow  to  a  height  of  four  to  ten 
inches,  and  for  the  flowers  to  bud,  blossom,  and 
ripen  their  seed.  The  pack  ice  in  Melville  Bay, 
Smith  Sound,  and  Kennedy  Channel,  during  the 
summer  months,  is  one  of  the  most  puzzling  things 
to  all  seafaring  men  who  enter  those  waters.  Kane 
and  other  explorers  have  reported  open  water  north 
of  Smith  Sound,  and  believed  that  they  had  dis- 
covered the  open  Polar  Sea;  while  others  have  been 
imprisoned  in  ice  all  summer  in  Baffin  Bay.  The 
only  drift-ice  we  encountered  was  off  Cape  Athol,  on 
our  upward  trip;  otherwise,  the  water  was  remark- 
ably free  of  ice  on  the  entire  voyage,  with  the  excep- 
tion, of  course,  of  the  icebergs,  which  were  almost 
our  constant  companions. 

The  natives  calculate  time  by  their  winters,  the 
season  of  fast  ice,  which  they  call  "Opipok."  The 
snow  blizzards,  during  the  winter,  are  far  more 
dangerous  to  natives  and  foreigners  than  the  intense 
cold,  as  the  native  dress  is  ample  protection  against 
the  latter,  while  the  cyclonic  and  impalpable  snow 
blizzards  render  outdoor  life  almost  impossible 
without  an  effective  mechanical  protection.  It  is 
very  strange,  and  yet  it  appears  nevertheless 
true,  that  putrefaction  of  animal  products  takes 
place  more  rapidly  during  the  Greenland  winter 
than  in  the  summer.  Dr.  Kane  relates  that  a 
reindeer  shot  on  the  226.  of  February,  brought  on 
board  the  "Advance"  the  next  day,  was  almost 
uneatable  the  second  day,  the  temperature  being 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       87 

at  that  time  —35°  F.  The  Eskimos  say  that  the 
extreme  cold  is  rather  a  promoter  than  otherwise, 
of  the  putrefactive  process.  To  prevent  this  they 
withdraw  the  viscera  from  the  animals  immedi- 
ately after  they  are  killed  and  fill  the  cavity  with 
stones.  (Kane.) 


ALONG  THE  WEST  COAST  OF  GREENLAND 


"Should  I  be  placed  alone  in  the  barren  wastes 
where  no  trees  burst  into  bloom,  and  where 
no  flowers  cheer  my  eyes  in  the  brief  summer; 
icebound,  mistclad  and  overcast  with  leaden 
clouds!  Should  I  be  banished  to  where  the 
earth  forbids  man's  abode,  in  lands  too  near 
the  fiery  car  of  the  day-king,  I  still  would  find 
enough  to  study  and  admire  the  wonderful 
works  of  creation  and  to  praise  the  goodness 
and  mercy  of  the  Almighty." 

We  are  now  sailing  along  the  west  coast  of  this 
mysterious  island  of  the  north,  in  full  sight  of  its 
island  sentinels  and  rugged  mountains  checkered 
with  ice  and  snow. 

I  look  in  vain,  for  trees  and  shrubs,  and  at  this 
distance  the  sprouting  grass  is  obscured  by  the 
black  and  gray  of  the  bald  mountain  sides.  No 
wonder  Baffin  called  this  island  "Land  of  Desola- 
tion." Seen  from  a  distance,  it  always  leaves  this 
impression. 

I  have  been  in  the  hottest  countries  in  the 
world  during  the  hottest  months  of  the  year,  and 
have  experienced,  in  a  full  measure,  the  vicis- 
situdes and  lassitudes  incident  to  such  a  climate; 
and  yet,  I  have  never  returned  from  these  travels 
without  a  keen  sense  of  delight  and  gratitude  for 
what  I  had  seen  and  learned.  I  learned  what  wise 
provision  kind  Nature  has  made  for  the  abode  of 
man  and  beast  in  such  trying  climates,  and  what 

89 


9o       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

she  was  capable  of  doing  in  the  way  of  inducing  the 
fertile  soil,  under  the  powerful  influence  of  the  tropic 
sun,  to  bring  forth  the  most  luxuriant  vegetation, 
the  most  beautiful  and  fragrant  flowers,  and  a  rich 
harvest  of  the  most  luscious  fruits,  with  little  or 
no  labor  on  the  part  of  man.  Man  lives  there  at 
ease,  depending  largely  on  Nature's  infinite  resources 
in  supplying  him  with  the  necessities  of  life,  food, 
clothing,  and  shelter  from  the  elements.  I  am 
now  anxious  to  see  and  learn  what  nature  has  done 
for  the  people  who  live  under  reverse  extremes  of 
climatic  conditions.  I  am  satisfied  that,  even  here, 
in  the  coldest  of  all  inhabited  parts  of  the  world, 
Nature  has  provided  wisely  and  well  for  the  abode 
of  man.  To  what  extent  my  expectations  were 
realized  will  appear  by  the  results  of  my  personal 
observations  during  my  short  but  extremely  instruc- 
tive sojourn  along  and  on  the  west  coast  of  this 
empire  of  ice. 

Wednesday,  July  26th.  After  leaving  the  en- 
trance to  Godhaab  Fiord,  so  suddenly  and  uncere- 
moniously reached  last  evening,  in  the  blinding  fog, 
we  sailed  seaward  sixteen  miles,  and  then  turned 
north  and  followed  the  coast  at  this  distance,  at  half 
speed,  owing  to  the  persistence  of  the  fog,  until 
toward  morning.  At  half -past  seven  o'clock  this 
specter  of  the  sea  vanished  sufficiently  to  warrant 
full  speed;  the  coast  was  clear,  and  we  looked  for  the 
first  time  upon  the  range  of  mountains  which  wall 
in  the  land  of  ice  except  where  the  leaders  of  the 
ice-cap  have  battered  it  down  by  floods  of  ice  and 
mad  torrents  of  water  from  the  ice-cap  and  glaciers. 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       91 

The  first  view  of  these  mountains  suggests  the 
severity  of  the  climate  of  the  island.  Stern  and 
forbidding  is  their  appearance,  treeless,  naked,  gray, 
and  black,  their  crevices,  hollows,  and  ravines  filled 
with  snow,  they  rise,  wall-like,  from  the  very  edge 
of  the  ocean,  guarding  the  barren  land  they  inclose 
against  the  fury  of  the  sea  and  the  grinding  action 
of  icebergs  and  pack-ice.  They  have  performed 
this  duty  well.  There  they  stand,  in  an  attitude 
of  defiance,  but  little  scarred  by  the  aggressive 
ocean,  a  strong  reminder  of 

"The  everlasting  hills  are  not  changed  like 
the  faces  of  men." — Tacitus. 

There  is  nothing  attractive  or  inviting  about 
them  on  first  sight,  their  very  appearance  stamps 
them  as  hostile  and  inhospitable.  Cold  and  un- 
feeling, they  stare  you  in  the  face  without  a  single 
redeeming  feature  expressive  of  sympathy  or  a  de- 
sire to  have  you  come  nearer.  Looking  in  an  oppo- 
site direction,  over  the  placid  surface  of  the  ocean, 
a  more  inviting  picture  unrolled  itself.  The  water 
was  literally  covered  with  arctic  birds,  among  which 
the  guillemots,  gulls  and  kitti wakes  were  most 
numerous;  all  of  them  busy  in  securing  their  share 
of  sea  food.  The  air  was  alive  with  birds,  single 
in  pairs,  and  in  flocks,  of  all  sizes,  coming 
from  and  returning  to  their  breeding  places  on  the 
countless  little  islands  which  fringe  the  coast.  These 
birds  flew,  fearlessly,  over  and  on  all  sides  of  the 
passing  steamer,  unconscious  of  any  sense  of  danger. 
Most  of  them  had,  probably,  never  seen  such  a 


92       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

thing,  and  all  seemed  to  know  that  the  guns  on 
board  remained  in  their  cases.  About  eleven  o'clock 
the  feeding  time  was  over,  and  very  few  remained 
on  the  water,  and  nearly  every  one,  seen  flying,  made 
a  straight  line  for  the  rookeries  on  the  shore. 

Many  whales  were  seen  during  the  day,  and  one 
of  them,  a  monster,  came  along  the  side  of  the  ship, 
within  easy  reach  of  a  harpoon.  Only  a  very  few 
icebergs  came  in  view  during  the  entire  day,  and 
all  of  them  were  slowly  conveyed  by  the  current 
near  the  coast.  Not  a  glimpse  of  the  sun  did  we  get, 
and,  for  a  considerable  part  of  the  day,  the  coast  was 
hidden  behind  a  bank  of  dense,  immobile  fog.  Dur- 
ing the  afternoon  we  crossed  the  Arctic  Circle  at 
66i°  north  latitude,  and  at  that  time  the 
thermometer  registered  42°  F.  We  were  reminded 
that  we  were  now  within  the  Arctic  Circle  which 
crosses  Greenland  a  little  south  of  Holstenborg. 
About  seven  o'clock,  the  fog  disappeared  and  un- 
veiled a  panorama  of  beautiful  alpine  scenery,  in- 
cluding the  first  of  the  numerous  Greenland  glaciers 
to  our  fog-tired  and  yet  expectant  eyes.  The  mag- 
nificent scenery,  so  suddenly  unveiled  by  the  rising 
of  the  fog  curtain,  resembled,  very  much,  the  wilder- 
ness of  Alpine  peaks  as  seen  from  Rigi  Kulm  or  the 
summit  of  the  Pilatus.  The  countless,  white-robed 
mountain  spires,  some  of  the  highest  ones  draped  in 
clouds,  and  all  resplendent  in  the  dazzling  rays  of 
the  evening  sun,  made  a  panorama  of  exquisite 
beauty.  These  mountains  vary  in  height  from 
2,000  to  5,000  feet,  the  highest  one  being  Sukker- 
toppen,  a  familiar  landmark  for  the  seamen  who  visit 


HAULING  A  DEAD  POLAR  BEAR  ON  DECK 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       93 

this  coast.  It  was  at  the  base  of  the  Sukkertoppen 
that  the  famous  arctic  explorer,  Doctor  Kane,  made 
his  first  collection  of  Greenland  plants.  Nature 
has  her  best  artists  in  the  arctic  regions,  as  well  as 
in  the  tropics,  and  I  suppose  that  what  we  have  seen 
so  far  of  nature's  arctic  art  only  foreshadows  her 
many  chef  d'ceuvre*  which  await  us  on  our  way 
farther  north. 

Thursday,  July  ayth.  Made  good  time  during 
the  night  as  we  are  in  the  coast  current,  and  a  good 
southern  breeze  aided  the  propeller  in  increasing 
the  speed  of  the  "Erik."  At  7  A.  M.,  we  had  bright 
sunshine  which,  however,  did  not  last  more  than  an 
hour,  when  heavy  clouds  again  obscured  the  sky 
for  the  balance  of  the  day.  We  were  thirty  miles 
out  from  the  coast,  and  the  low  range  of  mountains, 
bare  and  free  from  snow,  appeared  in  the  distance, 
overcast  by  a  blue  haze.  The  gentle  southeasterly 
breeze  barely  sufficed  to  ripple  the  smooth  surface 
of  the  sea.  Very  few  birds,  no  whales,  and  but  a 
few  seal  were  seen  swimming  about  in  the  water, 
exhibiting  their  round  heads  and  inquisitive  eyes, 
only  long  enough,  above  the  surface  of  the  water, 
to  satisfy  their  curiosity  and  to  take  in  a  fresh  supply 
of  air,  when  they  disappeared,  not  to  be  seen  again. 
Numerous  small  icebergs  were  encountered  during 
the  forenoon.  These,  however,  were  but  the 
advance  guard  of  a  large  group  of  immense  bergs 
we  met  about  noon  in  Disco  Bay.  I  counted,  from 
the  deck  of  the  steamer,  sixty-seven  at  one  time, 
not  including  the  small  ones.  Our  course  led  through 
the  center  of  this  group  of  floating  mountains  of 


94       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

ice.  All  of  these  icebergs  had  but  recently  left 
their  birthplace  at  the  head  of  the  bay,  and  were 
moving  slowly  seaward.  The  elements  had  dealt 
gently  with  these  youthful  offsprings  of  some  of  the 
largest  of  Greenland's  glaciers.  Some  of  the  largest 
must  have  been  nearly  a  mile  in  length  and  from 
fifty  to  one  hundred  feet  in  height,  as  estimated  by 
the  captain. 

The  sight  was  an  imposing  one,  as  the  sun  made 
his  appearance  long  enough  to  bring  out  the  marble 
white  of  the  worn  part  and  the  delicate  blue  and 
green  of  the  fractured  sides  and  submerged  portions 
of  the  bergs.  The  group,  taken  as  a  whole,  spread 
over  many  miles  of  the  smooth,  dark  green  water 
of  the  ocean  and  gave  the  appearance  of  a  city  of 
tents.  Far  away  in  the  sea  was  the  largest  one,  in 
the  form  of  an  immense  fort,  minus  the  pointing 
guns.  Near  it  was  another  flat  colossus  that,  in 
the  distance,  looked  like  a  large  exposition  building. 
There  were  also  icebergs  which,  in  their  architecture, 
resembled  cathedrals,  mosques,  houses,  huts  and 
sheds.  These,  as  a  whole,  might  be  taken  for  a 
fairy  city  on  the  arid  plains  of  a  great  desert,  with 
wide  boulevards  and  narrow  lanes  separating  the 
different  buildings.  Doctor  Sohon  was  kept  busy 
with  his  kodak  to  fix  these  glorious  sights  indelibly 
on  the  films. 

"Emblems  of  purity  and  cold 

Messengers  from  the  frozen  lands, 
Cast  in  wond'rous  forms  without  mold, 

Seeking  peaceful  rest  on  foreign  strands." 

Disco   Bay  is  a  broad  indentation  of  the  west 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       95 

coast  of  Greenland,  sixty  miles  in  length  at  its  base. 
The  largest  of  the  numerous  islands  in  this  bay  is 
Disco,  with  Godhavn  the  seat  of  government  of  this 
district.  We  passed  this  well-known  island  near 
enough  to  obtain  a  good  idea  of  its  size,  form  and 
topography.  The  larger  part  of  the  island  is  made 
up  of  precipitous  mesas,  1,200  to  1,500  feet  above 
the  level  of  the  sea,  cut  on  the  seashore  by  deep 
ravines  and  magnificent  fiords.  These  mesas  or 
mountain  plateaus  are  overtowered  by  numerous 
peaks,  rising  to  an  altitude  of  3,000  to  4,000  feet, 
and  much  of  the  interior  of  the  island  is  buried 
underneath  an  ice-cap.  We  passed  the  island  late 
in  the  afternoon  and  during  the  evening,  and  our 
eyes  feasted  on  the  wild  mountain  scenery  illumi- 
nated by  the  retiring  sun.  In  the  east,  toward  the 
mainland,  the  sky  was  painted  a  light  salmon  color, 
which,  gradually  and  almost  imperceptibly  changed 
into  the  pale  blue  of  the  evening  sky,  bordering  on 
the  margin  of  the  gray  clouds  which  hovered  over 
the  island.  In  the  west,  the  sun  was  high  up  in 
the  firmament,  trying  his  best  to  penetrate,  with 
his  arctic  rays,  the  ragged  sheet  of  clouds.  An  ice- 
berg of  medium  size,  far  out  on  the  ocean,  caught  a 
glimpse  of  the  sun  and  turned  into  a  sapphire  of 
prodigious  size,  set  in  the  dark  blue  of  the  sleeping 
ocean. 

The  usual  variety  of  sea  gulls  sailed  through  the 
calm  evening  air,  like  white  and  gray  kites,  and 
flocks  of  eiderducks  and  guillemots  floated  lazily 
on  the  smooth  surface  of  the  water  like  gaily  painted 
decoys.  When  within  easy  gunshot  range,  they 


96       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

dived,  head  foremost  into  the  water  with  the  speed 
of  lightning,  leaving  a  succession  of  expanding  rings 
on  the  water,  indicating  the  point  of  their  disap- 
pearance, to  reappear  in  a  few  minutes  at  a  safe 
distance  from  the  ship,  which  had  disturbed  their 
search  for  the  evening  meal. 

The  island,  from  its  appearance,  seems  to  have 
risen  in  one  sudden,  great  effort  from  the  bottom  of 
the  ocean,  as  the  perpendicular  walls  of  basalt  rock 
rise  abruptly  from  the  ocean  to  the  snow-clad  pla- 
teaus above.  One  of  the  larger  glaciers  was  seen  to 
project  some  distance  over  the  surface  of  the  sea, 
and  is  ready,  at  any  time,  to  contribute  a  new  iceberg 
to  the  army  of  bergs  congregated  along  the  west 
shore  of  the  island.  The  ice-cap  sends  down  toward 
the  sea,  a  number  of  leaders  in  the  form  of 
glaciers,  but  few  of  them  ever  reach  the  abyss  of 
the  briny  deep.  Far  out  in  the  ocean  could  be 
seen  a  foaming  jet  of  water  thrown,  perpendicularly 
into  the  air,  a  distance  of  at  least  fifty  feet;  then 
another  geyser-like  jet,  some  distance  from  the 
first.  These  jets,  from  the  two  different  points, 
were  repeated  every  few  minutes  and  the  whalers 
on  board  soon  ascertained  that  these  fountains 
were  played  by  two  sperm-whales,  the  largest  of  all 
the  ocean  animals,  the  water  mastodons  of  the  present 
age.  One  of  these  animals  rose  high  enough  to  give 
us  an  opportunity  to  judge  of  the  enormity  of  its 
size.  The  black  back  looked  more  like  a  small  island 
than  a  part  of  this  monster  of  the  sea.  This  even- 
ing, at  a  latitude  of  little  more  than  70°  north, 
which  we  are  crossing,  is  our  last  chance  to  see  a 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       97 

sunset  until  on  the  homeward  trip  we  reach  again 
this  latitude.  Unfortunately,  the  western  horizon 
is  heavily  clouded  and  the  setting  sun  at  11:15  P. 
M.  is  in  hiding.  In  the  east,  where  the  sun  will 
rise  about  two  hours  later,  the  sky  is  clearer  and 
the  few  fleecy  clouds  are  tinted  a  bright  rosy  hue, 
announcing  the  last  sunrise  for  this  time  of  the  year. 
The  space  ahead  of  us,  separating  the  last  sunset  and 
sunrise,  seems  to  appear  astonishingly  small,  and 
will  be  wiped  out  to-morrow  by  the  midnight  sun. 
The  arctic  summer  has  begun ;  the  temperature,  at 
noon  today,  was  55°  F.,  and  at  midnight,  as  I  am 
writing  this,  it  is  49°  F.,  average  humidity  for  the 
day,  77i  Per  cent. 

Friday,  July  28th.  Contrary  to  our  expecta- 
tions, and  to  our  great  disappointment,  the  day 
opened  gloomily  with  sky  overcast  and  a  drizzling 
rain.  The  coast  of  Omenak  Peninsula,  fringed 
with  numerous  islands,  is  barely  visible  through  the 
misty  air.  The  weather  today  reminds  one  of  our 
drizzling  March  days. 

"It  rains!     It  rains!     It  rains  all  day." 

— Shakespeare. 

As  a  matter  of  safety,  the  captain  sailed  farther 
seaward,  and  when  out  of  sight  of  the  coast  con- 
tinued the  journey  at  half-speed  until  one  o'clock 
in  the  morning  of  next  day.  We  are  now  in  Baffin 
Bay,  west  of  Upernavik,  the  northern  limit  of  the 
Danish  settlements,  and  well  on  the  way  to 
the  heart  of  the  arctics,  followed  by  so  many 
daring  explorers  in  search  of  the  pole.  Davis,  in 
1587,  ascended,  in  the  strait  which  deservedly  bears 


98       IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

his  name  to  latitude  72°  12'  north,  where  he  found 
the  variations  of  the  compass  to  be  82°  west,  or 
nearly  the  same  as  at  the  present  time.  In  1616, 
Baffin  advanced,  in  the  same  waters,  as  high  as 
78°  north  latitude.  Hudson,  nine  years  before, 
had  penetrated  in  the  Greenland  seas  to  latitude 
82°  north,  to  the  northeast  of  Spitzbergen.  In 
view  of  the  advances  made  in  the  direction  of  the 
pole  at  such  early  periods,  and  by  the  use  of  small 
sailing  vessels,  it  is  somewhat  mortifying  to  notice 
how  little  progress  has  been  made  in  geographical 
discoveries  since  those  early  and  intrepid  adventurers 
explored  the  arctic  regions  with  their  frail  barks,  which 
seldom  exceeded  the  size  of  fifty  tons.  Captain 
Wilson,  about  the  end  of  June,  1754,  having  trav- 
ersed floating  ice  from  latitude  74°  north  to  81° 
north,  found  open  water  at  83°  north,  and,  not 
meeting  with  many  whales,  returned. 

It  was  our  captain's  intention  to  set  the  course 
of  his  vessel  for  Cape  York,  but  as  he  could  not  make 
out  our  exact  position,  we  drifted  lazily  along  at 
the  rate  of  less  than  four  miles  an  hour.  It  was  a 
monotonous,  dreary,  and  most  disagreeable  day.  Even 
the  sailors  lost  their  customary  cheerfulness  and  the 
captain's  mind  was  visibly  disturbed.  It  is  bad 
enough  to  be  lost  on  land,  but  it  is  vastly  more  so  on 
the  trackless  ocean  in  rain  and  fog,  near  a  dangerous 
coast,  and  among  icebergs  and  possibly  floating  ice. 
The  question,  "Where  are  we?"  became  a  burning 
one  for  the  third  time  since  we  left  Sydney.  An 
overcast,  weeping  sky,  mist  and  fog,  a  falling  barom- 
eter, a  chilly  atmosphere,  and  wet  deck,  coupled 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS       99 

with  the  uncertainty  of  our  location,  made  up  a 
combination  of  things  not  congenial  to  physical 
comfort,  and  certainly  not  conducive  to  a  happy 
mental  state.  Forced  idleness,  under  such  de- 
pressing conditions,  is  painful,  and  the  loss  of  a  whole 
day,  discouraging.  Que  faireJ  I  did  the  utmost  in 
my  power  to  make  the  best  possible  use  of  my  time 
by  reading  and  writing.  I  envy  the  people,  who, 
under  such  circumstances,  can  while  away  the  burden 
of  time  by  reading  novels  or  playing  cards,  some- 
thing out  of  the  question  with  me. 

The  first  appearance  of  the  midnight  sun,  to  which 
we  had  looked  forward  with  so  many  pleasant  antici- 
pations, was  a  veritable  lucus  a  non  lucendo.  The 
sun  was  there  at  the  appointed  time,  but  was  hidden 
behind  a  bank  of  impenetrable  clouds.  It  was  as 
light  as  at  noon,  but  we  were  sadly  disappointed  in 
not  seeing  the  king  of  night  and  day  face  to  face. 
It  is  in  this  latitude  that  the  mariner's  compass 
shows  pronounced  symptoms  of  nervousness.  The 
mass  of  people  have  an  idea  that  the  compass  in- 
variably points  true  north.  This  is  the  case  at  the 
equator,  but  north  from  that  imaginary  line  it  de- 
viates toward  the  west,  and  about  where  we  are 
now,  on  a  level  with  Upernavik,  about  latitude  75° 
north,  it  points  directly  west,  instead  of  north,  and 
the  mariner  must  sail  east  by  the  compass  if  he  in- 
tends to  go  north.  At  this  latitude,  the  compass, 
is  restless,  vacillating,  and,  when  it  comes  to  a  stand- 
still, points  toward  the  magnetic  pole,  which  Captain 
Ross,  in  1830,  located  in  the  northern  part  of  British 
America  at  latitude  70°  5'  north  and  longitude  west 


ioo     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

96°  46'  45",  being  only  a  minute  less  than  90°, 
the  vertical  position,  which  would  have  precisely 
indicated  the  polar  station.  The  longitudinal 
needles,  when  suspended  in  the  most  delicate  manner 
possible,  did  not  show  the  slightest  tendency  to  move. 
He  looked  carefully  for  something  that  would  ac- 
count for  the  magnetic  attraction,  but  found  nothing. 
The  uncertainty  of  the  compass  in  this  latitude  and 
farther  north,  and  the  frequent  fogs,  render  navi- 
gation in  these  regions  more  difficult  and  dangerous 
than  anywhere  else. 

Saturday,  July  29th.  Day  promises  well.  Ship 
under  full  sail;  frequent  glimpses  of  the  sun;  sky 
clearing;  mist  dispelled;  sea  calm;  icebergs  few; 
birds  more  numerous;  land  still  out  of  sight;  entering 
Melville  Bay.  It  is  in  Melville  Bay  that  the  sailors 
expect  to  battle  with  floating  ice  during  this  season 
of  the  year.  Delays  by  pack  -ice  here  are  of  common 
occurrence  and  are  often  of  days  and  even  weeks 
duration.  Bright  sunshine  at  short  intervals  cheered 
the  afternoon  and  imparted  a  more  pleasing  aspect 
to  the  marine  scenery,  the  choppy  sea,  flee  ting  clouds, 
and  numerous  flocks  of  birds.  The  indications  were 
that  we  would  see  the  midnight  sun.  In  this  we 
were  again  disappointed,  as  toward  evening  the  sky 
became  overcast  and  at  midnight  it  was  as  light  as 
any  time  during  the  day,  but  the  sun  remained  in 
hiding.  Toward  morning  a  drizzling  rain  and  a 
dense  fog  made  navigation  again  difficult. 

Sunday,  at  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning,  we 
passed  through  a  field  of  pack-ice.  The  strong, 
steel-clad  prow  of  the  steamer  shoved  the  closely 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     101 

packed  pans  aside  and,  where  this  could  not  be 
done,  piled  them  up  in  heaps  on  the  side  of  the  ship. 
The  shocks  imparted  to  the  vessel  by  the  striking 
of  the  large  masses  of  ice,  and  the  grinding  noise, 
gave  us  at  least  an  idea  of  what  it  means  to  sail 
through  pack-ice.  Passing  clouds  of  dense  fog 
obscured  the  outlook  beyond  the  distance  of  a  quar- 
ter of  a  mile. 

Colossal  icebergs  surrounded  us  on  all  sides. 
We  counted  seventy  at  one  time.  Our  exact  location 
was  in  doubt,  but  from  the  character  of  the  fog,  and 
the  direction  and  arrangement  of  the  field  of  pack- 
ice,  there  was  no  question  of  the  proximity  of  land. 
Several  of  the  pans  of  ice  showed  signs  that  they 
had  recently  been  occupied  by  walrus.  The  serious 
question  again  arose,  "Where  are  we?"  At  nine 
o'clock,  fogs  and  clouds  disappeared  sufficiently  for 
a  few  minutes  only  to  enable  the  officer  on  the  bridge 
to  see  land  ahead.  Great  caution  was  necessary 
now.  At  half  speed,  the  "Erik"  groped  its  way  in 
the  direction  of  the  coast,  in  a  thick  fog,  among  ice- 
bergs, and  through  fields  of  pack-ice.  The  coast, 
when  it  came  into  full  view,  was  mountainous  and, 
through  the  foggy,  hazy  atmosphere,  we  counted 
no  less  than  six  glaciers,  one  of  them  at  least  two 
miles  in  width,  with  a  wall-like  shining  face,  showing 
where  an  immense  iceberg  had  recently  broken  off. 
Our  aim  was  Cape  York,  but  the  land  we  saw  could 
not  be  identified  as  such.  A  rough  sea,  with  rain 
and  fog,  made  it  unsafe  to  approach  and  follow  the 
coast  line,  as  is  usually  done  by  expert  mariners  in 
this  region.  The  engine  was  stopped  and  the  ship 


102     77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

allowed  to  drift  among  the  icebergs.  Steam  was 
turned  on  from  time  to  time  to  avoid  collision  with 
icebergs  and  to  keep  at  a  safe  distance  from  the 
shore.  Our  situation,  unpleasant  and  discouraging 
as  it  was,  was  made  more  so  in  the  evening  when  a 
severe  gale  lashed  the  ocean  into  foam-crested, 
angry  waves.  The  little  ship  groaned,  tossed,  rolled, 
and  pitched  at  a  fearful  rate.  Movable  things  were 
thrown  about  in  confusion,  and  the  noises  created 
thereby  contributed  much  to  the  existing  confusion 
on  deck  and  in  my  cabin. 

The  deck  was  swept  by  the  furious  waves,  and 
it  soon  became  necessary,  in  order  to  keep  contro' 
of  the  ship,  to  sail  at  half  speed  up  and  down  the 
coast,  and  at  a  safe  distance  from  it,  until  the  weather 
would  permit  it  to  come  sufficiently  near  to  identify 
the  most  important  landmarks.  It  was  a  dreadful 
night.  No,  it  was  not  night,  as  the  midnight  sun 
had  turned  night  into  day.  Although  the  sun  was 
not  shining,  it  was  as  light  at  midnight  as  any  time 
during  the  day.  This  was  our  greatest  consolation, 
as,  had  it  been  dark,  the  danger  would  have  been 
vastly  increased.  No  one  slept  much  that  night. 
Sailing  up  and  down  a  strange  coast,  in  such  a  bois- 
terous sea,  amidst  numerous  icebergs,  and  occa- 
sionally through  fields  of  pack-ice,  is  a  trying  ex- 
perience. I  love  an  active  ocean  and  a  little  ship 
that  responds  gracefully  to  the  waves,  but  when  the 
rolling  and  pitching,  and  the  cork-screw  gait  of  the 
ship  become  so  severe  that  walking,  and  even  stand- 
ing, without  a  firm  support,  are  made  unsafe  or 
impossible,  the  limits  of  the  poetry  of  sea  motions 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     103 

have  passed.  This  was  the  case  that  night.  The 
temperature  next  morning  had  fallen  to  42°  F.  At 
half -past  eight,  the  sun  appeared,  but  only  for  a 
very  short  time.  Gale,  clouds,  and  fog  continued 
persistently,  and  we  were  obliged  to  keep  out  at 
sea.  Sailing  at  a  lame  gait  north,  then  south,  back- 
ward and  forward  between  icebergs,  enveloped  in 
fog,  and" under  an  overcast,  leaden  sky,  we  are: 

"In  thrilling  regions  of  thick-ribbed  ice; 
To  be  imprison 'd  in  the  viewless  winds, 
And  blown  with  restless  violence  round  about 
The  pendent  world." — Shakespeare. 

We  now  could  appreciate  well  what  the  Psalmist 
said : — 

"The  sun  shall  not  smite  thee  by  day,  nor 
the  moon  by  night." — Psalms   CXXI,  6- 

As  we  have  had  only  a  few  short  glimpses  of  the 
sun  since  we  left  Sydney,  two  weeks  ago,  we  miss 
very  much,  the  gentle  moon  and  starlight,  banished 
now  by  the  conquering  midnight  sun.  Fog,  mist, 
rain,  and  a  cloudy  sky  have  been  meted  out  to  us 
on  this  trip  far  above  the  average  amount.  Some 
of  our  sailors  who  have  frequented  the  west  coast 
of  Greenland  for  the  last  twenty  years  say  they 
never  met  such  disagreeable  weather  before  during 
this  season  of  the  year.  Occasional  fogs  are  ex- 
pected, but  almost  continual  fogs  for  nearly  two 
weeks,  and  so  little  sunshine,  is  an  almost  unheard-of 
experience.  At  noon,  the  fog  and  clouds  cleared 
away  and  the  officers  recognized  a  conspicuous 
landmark  of  the  coast,  Conical  Island,  off  Cape 
Atholl,  and  later  Wolstenholm  Island,  Dalyrymple 


io4     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

Rock,  Eider  Duck  Island,  and  lastly  Saunders  Island; 
all  of  them  at  the  entrance  of  Wolstenholm  Sound. 
Instead  of  being  at  Cape  York,  we  were  agreeably 
surprised  that  we  were  thirty  miles  north  of  that 
point,  and  at  the  very  gateway  to  our  first  destina- 
tion, North  Star  Bay.  Cape  Atholl  appeared  in  all 
its  arctic  majesty,  and  the  nearby  Petowik 
Glacier,  one  of  the  largest  on  the  west  coast  of  Green- 
land, was  in  full  view,  besides  a  number  of  smaller 
ones.  It  was  a  source  of  great  comfort  to  us  all, 
and  especially  to  our  captain,  to  know  that  we  were 
on  familiar  grounds  and  in  face  of  reliable  guides  to 
North  Star  Bay.  The  course  of  the  ship,  lying 
between  the  main  land  and  Saunders  Island,  after 
rounding  Cape  Atholl,  was  directed  toward  North  Star 
Bay.  From  now  on,  until  we  reached  North  Star 
Bay,  we  were  constantly  in  view  of  the  great  inland 
ice  and  numerous  glaciers,  large  and  small.  These 
and  the  snow-clad  mountain  peaks  announced  to 
us  that  we  were  nearing  the  very  heart  of  the  arctics. 
Petowik  Glacier  is  an  enormous  river  of  ice,  and 
a  liberal  contributor  to  the  iceberg  family.  The 
mountain  on  one  side  of  the  fiord,  occupied  by  this 
glacier,  is  worn  away  by  the  friction  of  this  enor- 
mous mass  of  moving  ice,  and,  by  this  gradual  action, 
has  been  changed  into  a  steep,  almost  perpendicular 
wall,  while  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  fiord  there 
are  no  indications  of  this  grinding  action.  The 
face  of  the  glacier,  projecting  far  over  the  surface  of 
the  water,  we  estimated  at  five  miles  in  width, 
and  it  presents  all  the  appearances  of  recent  frac- 
tured surfaces  at  different  points,  caused  by  the 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     105 

breaking  off  of  icebergs.  There  was  now  a  sudden 
change  in  the  weather.  The  bright,  warm,  beautiful 
sunshine,  the  clear  atmosphere,  the  smiling  light  blue, 
friendly  arctic  sky,  and  the  frequent  rainbows,  in 
the  clouds  we  left  behind  us,  made  up  a  most  fas- 
cinating scenery  as  we  entered  the  calm  waters  of 
Wolstenholm  Sound.  This  broad  sheet  of  water 
teemed  with  bird-life.  The  water  was  literally 
covered  with  the  little  auks,  eider  ducks,  and  several 
species  of  gulls,  and  the  air  was  alive  with  these  arctic 
birds,  hurrying  to  and  from  the  near-by  island  rook- 
eries. 

We  reached  the  entrance  to  North  Star  Bay 
without  any  difficulty,  and,  at  eight  o'clock  in  the 
evening,  the  "Erik"  was  securely  at  anchor  near 
where  the  ill-fated  "North  Star"  had  spent  her 
last  winter  quarters.  As  there  was  formerly  a 
settlement  of  natives  near  Cape  Atholl,  the  captain 
tried  to  attract  their  attention  by  a  few  fierce 
blasts  of  the  whistle,  but  no  signs  of  life  could 
be  seen  on  shore.  On  entering  North  Star  Bay,  the 
same  signal  was  given  to  inform  the  natives  at  North 
Omenak,  another  settlement  near  the  place  of  our 
anchorage,  of  our  presence.  At  about  eleven 
o'clock  in  the  evening,  a  number  of  natives  could  be 
seen  on  the  summit  of  a  bluff,  near  their  settlement. 
The  sun  was  shining  brightly  and,  seen  through 
glasses,  the  native  figures,  about  two  miles  distant, 
appeared  like  so  many  silhouettes.  Men,  women, 
and  children  were  grouped  together,  some  walking, 
some  standing,  and  others  sitting  on  the  large  boul- 
ders scattered  over  the  surface  of  the  ground.  A  boat 


106     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

was  lowered  and  sent  ashore.  It  soon  returned  with 
a  full  cargo  of  natives,  principally  women  and  chil- 
dren, accompanied  by  five  kayaks,  which  brought 
the  able-bodied  hunters  of  the  settlement. 

It  was  a  motley  crowd  as  they  climbed  up  the 
ladder  and  landed  on  deck.  I  distributed  candy  to 
old  and  young,  and  all  seemed  to  enjoy  this  dainty 
article  of  civilization  which,  perhaps,  most  of  them 
had  never  tasted  before.  With  the  exception  of  a 
sick  man,  and  one  to  take  care  of  him,  the  entire 
settlement,  about  twenty  in  number,  spent  the 
night  on  deck,  alternately  eating  and  sleeping. 
Pork  was  their  favorite  dish.  This  settlement  evi- 
dently had  to  contend  with  a  severe  winter,  or  the 
game  must  have  been  scarce,  as  the  clothing  of  all 
the  members  of  the  tribe  was  old  and  well  worn  and, 
as  a  later  visit  to  their  tents  showed,  their  fur  and 
food  supplies  were  scanty.  Five  of  the  women  had 
infants  which  they  carried  in  their  hoods.  It  was 
my  first  opportunity  to  see  real  Eskimos.  I  improved 
this  and  all  subsequent  opportunities  to  study  the 
character  and  habits  of  these  interesting  inhabitants 
of  the  polar  regions,  so  far  but  little  influenced  by 
civilization. 

THE  ARCTIC  OASIS 

The  west  coast  of  Greenland,  from  Cape  York 
to  Etah,  has  been  called  by  Peary  "The  Arctic  Oasis." 
I  was  given  an  excellent  opportunity  to  see  and 
study  this  part  of  the  Greenland  coast,  and  can  only 
agree  with  the  fearless  explorer,  who  is  more  familiar 
with  it  than  any  other  foreigner,  that  it  merits  this 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     107 

euphonious  term,  notwithstanding  its  high  latitude, 
extending,  as  it  does,  from  latitude  76°  to  78°  40' 
north,  covering  a  distance  of  about  140  miles  by  a 
straight  coast  line.  It  is  on  the  narrow  strip  of  land 
in  these  latitudes,  between  the  sea  and  the  ice-cap, 
that  the  only  real  Eskimos  reside.  It  is  here  where 
the  real  heart  of  the  arctics  is  located;  it  is  here 
where,  during  the  short  summer,  the  sea,  air,  and  coast 
teem  with  animal  life;  and,  finally,  it  is  here  where 
the  midnight  sun,  by  its  magic  influence,  awakens 
from  the  scanty  soil  a  vegetation  that  astonishes 
the  visitors  who  come  to  this  part  of  Greenland  with 
the  expectation  of  finding  nothing  but  barren  moun- 
tains, ice,  and  snow.  It  is  here  where,  during  the 
short  summer,  the  climate  is  delightful  and  invig- 
orating, more  especially  along  the  inland  coasts  of 
Wolstenholm  Sound  and  Inglefield  Gulf,  inland 
arms  of  the  sea,  where  the  atmosphere  is  dry, 
fogs  rare,  and  warm  sunshine  continuous.  Truly 
this  part  of  Greenland,  bounded  on  one  side  by  the 
everlasting  ice  and  on  the  other  by  Baffin  Bay  and 
Smith  Sound,  well  deserves  the  name  applied  to  it 
by  Peary,  "Oasis  of  the  Arctic  Region."  In  this 
paradise  of  the  arctic  region,  it  was  my  good  fortune 
to  spend  a  month,  most  of  the  time  in  company  with 
the  distinguished  explorer. 


5  o 

r»  ^ 

O  I 

2.  ^ 

£  C 


IN  NORTH  STAR  BAY 


At  twelve  o'clock  midnight,  on  the  day  of  our 
arrival,  the  midnight  sun  shone  brightly  from  its 
lofty  position  in  the  cloudless,  starless  sky,  reflecting 
his  warm,  friendly  rays  on  the  silvery  bosom  of  this 
arctic  harbor  and  the  unfeeling  ocean  of  the  inland 
ice.  Auks,  guillemots,  eider-duck,  and  gulls,  which 
have  here  one  of  their  favorite  feeding  grounds, 
paid  little  attention  to  our  "Erik*'  or  to  the  activity 
displayed  by  natives  and  crew  on  her  deck,  a  part 
of  which  was  still  buried  under  the  cargo  of  coal. 
These  natives  had  not  seen  a  vessel  for  three  years; 
hence  our  visit  to  them  was  a  very  welcome  one. 

The  novelty  of  the  surroundings,  the  quaint, 
interesting  natives  on  deck,  and  the  splendor  of  the 
midnight  sun  were  well  calculated  to  chase  away 
sleep  the  balance  of  that  memorable  day-night. 

The  next  morning  inaugurated  a  charming  arctic 
summer  day.  The  warm  sunshine,  gentle  breeze, 
and  blue,  cloudless  sky  reminded  me  of  one  of  our 
clear,  cool  days  in  the  month  of  June.  The  water 
in  the  bay  was  as  smooth  as  a  mirror.  The  harbor 
is  hemmed  in  by  an  embankment  from  six  to  ten 
feet  in  height,  the  face  of  a  low  plateau  or  wide 
valley,  the  bed  of  a  great  glacier  ages  and  ages  ago. 
The  glacier  has  left  numerous  footprints,  which 
centuries  have  failed  to  efface,  in  the  form  of  boulders, 
gravel,  and  moraine;  the  latter  has  furnished  enough 

109 


no     77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

soil  for  the  arctic  vegetation,  grass  in  abundance, 
and  quite  a  variety  of  flowers. 

This  wide  valley  is  coursed  by  two  streams  which 
drain  the  ice-cap  and  a  number  of  small  glaciers. 
One  of  these  streams  is  large  enough  to  entitle  it 
to  the  name  of  river.  Owing  to  the  gradual,  steady 
incline  of  this  river  from  the  coast  to  the  ice-cap, 
a  distance  of  about  twenty  miles,  the  current  is  very 
swift,  and  is  broken  at  short  intervals  by  roaring, 
foaming  rapids.  On  each  side  of  the  valley  rise 
mountains  from  1,000  to  2,000  feet  high,  surmounted 
by  a  rock-strewn  plateau.  From  these  plateaus, 
the  valley  beneath,  with  its  turbulent  streams  and 
numerous  little  fresh- water  lakes,  presents  a  mag- 
nificent sight.  Much  of  its  surface,  especially  on 
the  west  side,  is  covered  by  tundra  with  moss,  grass, 
and  an  abundance  of  flowers.  The  great  ice-cap, 
with  its  numerous  nunataks  along  its  edge,  rising 
like  black  monuments  above  the  surface  of  the  sea 
of  ice,  although  twenty  miles  away,  yet  appearing 
in  the  deceptive,  clear  atmosphere  as  though  it  could 
be  reached  in  an  hour's  easy  walk,  can  be  seen  stretch- 
ing inland  by  a  gradual  incline  for  eighty  to  one 
hundred  miles. 

One  of  the  first  things  I  discovered  in  looking  at 
the  plateau  coast  from  the  deck  of  the  steamer,  was 
a  large  pile  of  stones  on  the  high  bank  near  the 
mouth  of  the  river.  It  was  evidently  either  an 
abandoned  igloo  or  a  sailor's  grave.  I  visited  the 
place  and  found  it  to  be  the  grave  of  a  white  man, 
probably  a  sailor  of  the  ill-fated  "North  Star"  which 
was  crushed  by  the  ice.  A  high  mound  of  stones 


n 

§ 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     in 

on  the  solid  granite  rock  indicates  the  burial-place. 
Neither  man  nor  animals  have  desecrated  this  soli- 
tary grave.  What  deprivation  and  suffering  the 
poor  man  under  those  cold,  unfeeling  stones  would 
relate  could  he  but  speak!  Here  he  rests,  far  away 
from  home  and  relatives,  less  than  700  miles  from 
the  pole  he,  and  those  with  him,  sought  to  reach. 
The  icy  wind  in  the  sunless  winter,  and  the  moaning 
waves  in  summer  continue  to  chant  the  funeral 
dirge: 

AN    ARCTIC   SAILOR  S    GRAVE 

His  work  is  done;  he  rests 
Free  from  hunger,  care,  and  pain, 

Near  yonder  lofty  crests, 

Without  honor,  without  fame; 

On  the  bleak  arctic  shore 
He  sleeps  forevermore. 

Far  from  home,  on  bed  of  stone, 

Safe  from  reefs,  storm,  and  gale 
He  dwelleth  all  alone, 

Wrapp'd  in  his  garb  of  sail ; 
On  the  bleak  arctic  shore 

He  sleeps  forevermore. 

His  courage  and  his  deeds, 

His  many  hopes,  his  fears, 
His  sufferings  and  needs 

Are  forgotten,  cause  no  tears 
On  the  bleak  arctic  shore 

He  sleeps  forevermore. 

All  honor  to  this  grave 

Of  stone  on  granite  floor, 
Where  lies  a  hero  brave, 

Forgotten,  without  lore; 
On  the  bleak  arctic  shore 

He  sleeps  to  wake  no  more. 


ii2     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  most  conspicuous  landmark  of  this  harbor 
is  a  high  rock  jutting  out  from  the  main  land  and 
resembling  in  outline,  very  much  the  old  pictures 
representing  Noah's  ark.  It  is  behind  this  rock,  and 
the  narrow,  stony  ridge  connecting  it  with  the  main- 
land, that  the  settlement  of  the  natives,  North 
Omenak,  is  located.  I  visited  this  little  hamlet  of 
tents  the  day  after  our  arrival.  It  is  made  up  of 
five  sealskin  tents  and  inhabited  by  twenty-five 
persons,  including  the  unusually  large  number  of 
infants.  We  were  greeted  at  a  distance  by  the 
howling  of  about  thirty  Eskimo  dogs,  vicious-look- 
ing brutes,  fortunately  for  us,  safely  anchored  to 
large  stones  with  stout  walrus-hide  ropes.  They  did 
their  best  to  release  themselves  from  their  fixed 
position  and  meet  us  more  than  half-way.  The 
Eskimo  dog  has  no  liking  for  foreigners,  and  makes 
no  secret  of  his  antipathy  to  Kablunahs  (white  men) . 
These  native  dogs  are  nothing  more  nor  less  than 
half -tamed  arctic  wolves.  They  are  about  the  size 
of  our  timber-wolves  and  resemble  them  very  closely 
in  the  appearance  of  their  fur,  eyes,  tail,  ears  and 
nose.  About  the  only  difference  in  the  shape  of 
their  skull  is  a  slight  increase  in  the  width  of  the 
frontal  bone.  The  predominating  color  is  gray,  but 
white,  black  and  yellow  are  frequently  seen.  Most 
of  them  are  spotted.  Peary  is  of  the  opinion  that 
the  present  breed  of  dogs  shows  decided  evidences 
of  a  mixture  of  races,  brought  about  by  the  New- 
foundland dogs  carried  to  this  part  of  Greenland  by 
Doctor  Kane  more  than  fifty  years  ago.  They  are 
miserable-looking  brutes,  retaining,  in  a  large  meas- 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     113 

ure,  the  savage  nature  and  habits  of  their  ancestors. 
Howling,  barking,  and  fighting  are  their  pastimes. 
Fighting  among  themselves  is  their  specialty.  The 
short  time  we  remained  in  the  settlement,  several 
vicious  fights  were  going  on,  without  any  provoca- 
tion, between  the  dogs  picketed  close  enough  together 
to  enable  them  to  reach  each  other.  All  of  the 
foreigners  who  have  visited  these  regions  were 
impressed  with  the  cruelty  with  which  the  natives 
treat  these  animals;  but  as  soon  as  they  became 
more  familiar  with  the  savage  nature  of  these  only 
half -domesticated  wolves,  they  could  understand 
the  reason  for  their  apparent  brutality. 

The  long  whip,  which  the  Eskimos  know  how  to 
use  so  effectively,  is  the  only  peacemaker  when  a 
fight  takes  place,  and  is  the  only  thing  for  which 
they  show  any  respect  and  the  only  inducement  to 
make  them  work.  Doctor  Kane  has  this  to 
say  of  the  Eskimo  dog- whip:  "The  weapon  has  an 
exercise  of  its  own,  quite  peculiar,  and  as  hard  to 
learn  as  single-stick  or  broadsword.  The  whip  is 
six  yards  long,  and  the  handle  but  sixteen  inches." 
Two  packs  were  picketed  close  to  a  little  fresh-water 
pond,  and,  about  half  the  time,  the  dogs  ran  about 
in  the  shallow  water.  This  pond,  in  which  were 
also  four  dog  sledges,  furnishes  the  water  supply  for 
the  community,  one  of  the  many  indications  that 
the  Eskimo  has  no  use  for  cleanliness.  Bathing  and 
washing  of  face  and  hands  are  never  practised. 
When  the  white  man  gives  him  soap,  he  may  eat  it,  but 
he  cannot  be  made  to  use  it  for  what  it  is  intended. 

The  Eskimo  is  the  filthiest  of  all  human  beings 


ii4     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

that  I  have  ever  seen.  He  is  vastly  more  filthy  than 
the  filthiest  of  our  domestic  animals.  Nearly  every 
animal  pays  some  attention  to  cleanliness;  many 
of  them,  like  the  squirrel,  birds  and  insects,  are  even 
dainty;  but  here  is  a  creature  absolutely  devoid  of 
the  sense  of  cleanliness.  With  their  hands  they  may 
rub  off  the  coarse  dirt  which  has  accumulated  on 
face  and  hands,  but  they  will  not  wash.  The  greasy, 
dirty  neck,  frictioned  by  the  hood,  is  the  cleanest 
part  of  their  filthy  body.  In  every  tent  is  a  small 
stick  of  wood  or  bone,  about  two  feet  in  length,  to 
one  end  of  which  a  bunch  of  hair,  from  the  polar 
bear,  is  attached;  and  with  this  rudimentary  brush, 
the  vermin  which  has  collected  between  skin  and 
clothing  is  fished  out.  The  reader  may  experience 
an  unpleasant  sensation  in  the  region  of  the  stomach, 
when  I  tell  him  that  the  vermin  thus  caught  is  eaten 
as  a  delicacy,  uncooked,  and  squirming,  as  I  have 
myself  seen  done  and  as  related  to  me  by  many  other 
eye  witnesses. 

The  smell  about  every  Eskimo  is,  to  the  unin- 
itiated, extremely  disagreeable  and  repulsive.  When 
the  natives  boarded  the  steamer  the  first  evening, 
this  smell  nearly  sickened  me,  and,  as  I  have  become 
habituated  to  many  bad  smells  during  my  profes- 
sional career,  this  means  a  good  deal.  But  to  get 
a  correct  idea  of  the  filth  and  squalor  these  people 
live  in,  you  must  go  inside  one  of  their  tents  or 
igloos.  You  can  scent  an  Eskimo  at  a  distance, 
if  the  wind  is  in  the  right  direction;  but  when 
you  enter  a  tent  the  nerves  of  smell  are  shocked, 
even  after  a  preliminary  inspection  of  its  surround- 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     115 

ings.  In  the  immediate  neighborhood  of  the  tent 
are  the  repulsive  dogs,  human  and  animal  excre- 
ments, putrified  entrails  of  animals,  skins  in  process 
of  curing  by  chewing  and  drying,  bones,  represent- 
ing the  entire  anatomy  of  different  arctic  animals, 
and  ropes  of  fresh  walrus  hides  stretched  between 
stones  to  which  they  are  securely  fastened,  under- 
going a  slow  process  of  drying,  preparatory  to  their 
being  made  pliable  by  chewing — a  task  always 
assigned  to  the  female  part  of  the  family.  Lying 
scattered  around  are  walrus  tusks,  narwhal  horns, 
dirty  dishes  made  of  soapstone,  harpoons,  spears, 
primitive  tools — all  dirty  and  plastered  with  grease. 
The  smell,  even  here,  is  bad  enough;  but  now  let  us 
enter  the  tent.  You  have  to  bow  low  to  enter 
through  a  slit  in  the  small,  conical  tent  of  seal- 
skin, in  itself  not  an  attractive  sight,  and  where  no 
provisions  whatever  are  made  for  ventilation.  Air 
is  excluded  by  fastening  the  tent  all  around  with 
stones  which  effectually  prevent  the  air  from  entering 
below,  and  there  is  no  opening  for  it  to  escape  on 
top.  As  these  tents  do  not  exceed  eight  or  ten 
feet  in  diameter,  and  are  usually  occupied  by  at 
least  five  persons,  it  requires  no  stretch  of  imagina- 
tion to  judge  of  the  character  of  their  inside  air. 
The  stench  is  simply  indescribable.  Five  minutes 
was  enough  for  me.  But  let  us  look  around  and 
see.  The  tent  is  made  of  sealskins,  deprived  of 
their  hair  by  scraping.  The  common  family  bed 
is  in  the  rear  of  the  very  limited  space,  occupying, 
as  it  does,  at  least  one  third  of  its  interior.  It  is 
made  up  of  ill-smelling  bear,  seal,  and  reindeer  skins 


n6     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

on  the  bare  ground,  and  fitted  up  in  a  most  disor- 
derly manner.  The  first  half  of  the  space  is  the 
kitchen,  sitting,  and  dining  room.  The  lamp  and 
stove,  made  of  soapstone,  is  half  full  of  dirty  seal- 
oil.  In  one  corner  is  a  filthy  tin  vessel  containing 
well-ripened  blubber,  a  dish  from  which  our  dogs 
would  run  away  and  hold  their  breath,  but  which 
is  relished  by  the  inmates  and  is  eaten  raw  like  we 
eat  oysters,  but  without  salt  or  any  kind  of  condi- 
ment. In  a  very  dirty  tin  dish  is  a  piece  of  black 
seal  meat  fried  crisp.  Near  the  door  are  the  putrid 
entrails  of  a  seal  on  the  bare  ground  and  pieces  of 
liver,  both  of  which  are  regarded  as  delicacies  and 
eaten  raw.  In  whatever  direction  the  eye  was 
turned,  there  was  dirt,  dirt,  everywhere. 

I  was  very  anxious  to  learn  how  the  natives 
light  fire  when  they  have  no  matches.  An  expert 
in  this  business  was  summoned.  He  produced  a 
piece  of  brown,  dried  moss  about  the  size  of  an  ordi- 
nary cake  of  toilet-soap,  tore  a  small  rent  in  it,  and 
filled  it  with  a  small  pledget  of  white,  silky  down, 
the  plumes  of  a  species  of  grass,  the  poa  arctica,  and 
then  took  a  piece  of  hard  black  stone  and  struck  it 
repeatedly  with  the  back  of  a  knife,  which  made 
the  sparks  fly  until  one  of  them  ignited  the  white 
pledget,  from  which  the  moss  caught  fire  and  the 
object  lesson  was  finished  to  the  great  satisfaction 
of  the  visitors  and  the  delight  of  the  group  of  na- 
tives who  witnessed  the  performance  with  more  than 
ordinary  interest,  a  proof  to  us  that  fire-making, 
without  matches,  is  not  a  very  easy  matter  and 
requires  the  skill  of  an  experienced  hand.  The 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     117 

wick  for  the  oil-lamp  is  made  of  moss,  and  the  heat 
from  this  source  suffices  to  heat  the  winter  quarters 
sufficiently  for  the  comfort  of  the  inmates. 

In  one  of  the  tents  I  found  the  only  sick  man  I 
saw  among  the  Eskimos.  He  was  about  thirty 
years  old  and  was  lying  on  his  back,  leaning  toward 
the  left  side,  on  a  reindeer  skin,  perfectly  helpless; 
his  left  elbow- joint  swollen  and  exceedingly  painful 
and  tender  to  the  slightest  touch,  resting  on  a  stone 
covered  with  fur.  His  lower  extremities  were  con- 
tracted, wasted,  and  all  of  the  joints  stiff.  He  was 
emaciated  to  a  skeleton,  with  a  hectic  flush  in  his 
face.  With  a  cold  pipe  in  his  mouth,  his  eyes  were 
fixed  and  gazing  at  the  top  of  the  tent.  His  mind 
appeared  to  be  wandering.  It  was  evidently  a 
case  of  chronic  rheumatic  arthritis  and  Commander 
Peary  informed  me  later  that  he  had  been  in  this 
condition  for  twelve  years.  Although  helpless  and 
the  father  of  a  family,  he  is  well  taken  care  of  by  his 
little  tribe.  Near  the  hamlet  of  tents  I  discovered 
three  Eskimo  graves  in  the  form  of  low  mounds  of 
stone,  and  in  length  exceeding  that  of  an  adult. 
The  Eskimo,  unlike  the  North  American  Indian, 
fears  death,  and  the  very  mention  of  this  word 
(Sinipo)  he  avoids  as  much  as  possible.  Nearly  all 
over  Greenland,  the  soil  is  too  shallow  for  the  exca- 
vation of  a  grave,  the  above-ground  burial  is,  there- 
fore the  one  practised.  Doctor  Kane  describes  it 
as  follows:  "They  place  the  body  in  a  position  of 
repose,  the  knees  drawn  close  to  the  body,  and  en- 
close it  in  a  sack  of  skins.  The  implements  of 
the  living  man  are  then  grouped  around  him;  they 


n8     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

are  covered  with  a  rude  dome  of  stones,  and  a  cairn 
is  piled  above.  The  grave  is  never  disturbed." 
The  graves  I  saw  here  and  elsewhere  were  so  low 
that  the  bodies  must  have  been  placed  in  a  lying 
position.  The  funeral  pile  was  so  low  that  in  one 
of  the  graves  I  found  nearly  all  of  the  bones  exposed, 
which  gave  me  an  opportunity  to  secure  a  real  Es- 
kimo skull,  which  I  brought  with  me  among  other 
equally  interesting  souvenirs  to  Chicago.  The  un- 
covering of  the  remains  was  undoubtedly  done  by 
wild  animals,  or  the  nearly  wild  dogs,  by  rolling 
away  the  two  or  three  layers  of  stones.  This  was 
evidently  a  recent  grave,  as  I  found  a  number  of 
bones  to  which  the  flesh  remained  attached. 

From  the  deck  of  the  "Erik,"  the  land  in  sight 
appeared  bare  of  all  kinds  of  vegetation  and  was 
made  up,  as  far  as  we  could  see,  of  rock  strewn  with 
boulders.  On  landing  for  the  first  time  on  the  un- 
inviting, forbidding  soil  of  Greenland,  I  was  agree- 
ably surprised  to  find  quite  a  rich  and  varied  vege- 
tation. Between  the  stones  scattered  over  the 
surface  of  the  granite-rock,  a  little  soil  had  accumu- 
lated, and  from  it  had  sprouted  little  tufts  of  grass 
and  quite  a  variety  of  flowers.  One  of  the  first 
flowers  that  greeted  me  was  the  poppy  of  the  arctics 
(papaver  nudicaulis) ,  a  modest  little  yellow  flower  with 
bare  stalk  and  palmately  incised,  basal,  velvety 
leaves.  The  stalk  is  from  four  to  six  inches  in  length, 
and  the  yellow  variety,  to  the  casual  observer, 
appears,  on  superficial  examination,  very  much  like 
our  butter-cup. 

The  first  day  I  spent  on  land,  crossing  valleys, 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     119 

climbing  mountains,  and  walking  over  the  tundra, 
I  found,  to  my  utter  astonishment,  at  least  fifteen 
different  kinds  of  flowers,  yellow,  white,  red,  purple, 
labiates  and  composites,  all  small  and  absolutely 
devoid  of  anything  like  fragrance.  The  marshy 
soil  (tundra)  in  valleys  and  on  mountain  plateaus 
was  green  with  grass  and  mosses, — and  it  was  in 
these  places  I  found  a  small  species  of  mushroom 
and  the  sorrel,  the  latter  in  the  stage  of  budding. 
I  searched  long  and  carefully  for  the  dwarfed  birch, 
which  is  the  only  tree  which  follows  the  willow  to 
the  northern  part  of  Greenland,  but  failed  to  find 
it.  The  willow  is  here  a  dwarf,  from  one  to  six 
inches  in  height,  and  was  at  the  time  of  my  visit 
in  full  blossom,  bearing,  according  to  its  size,  from 
one  to  six  catkins.  When  this  hardy  shrub  exceeds 
two  or  three  inches  in  height,  it  becomes  a  creeper, 
seeking  protection  against  the  intense  cold  of  the 
arctic  winter  under  a  mantle  of  mosses.  This  region 
is  very  rich  in  different  species  and  varieties  of 
mosses  and  lichens,  a  very  paradise  for  these  low 
forms  of  vegetable  life.  The  chromogenic  lichens 
paint  rocks,  boulders,  and  pebbles  in  bright  colors. 
Some  of  the  stones  on  their  exposed  surface  appear 
as  though  they  had  been  sprinkled  with  blood ;  others 
were  checkered  with  spots  of  orange  yellow;  and 
some  showed  blotches  as  black  as  the  blackest  of 
printers'  ink.  The  hardy  little  flowering  plants  have 
here  only  a  very  short  time  in  which  to  blossom 
and  propagate  their  species.  It  is  remarkable 
what  resourceful  Nature  can  accomplish  under  the 
most  uncongenial  climatic  influences  in  the  way  of 


120     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

preservation  of  vegetable  life.  The  tiny  flowers, 
some  of  them  barely  above  the  soil  and  not  larger 
than  the  head  of  a  pin,  grouped  in  bunches  red  and 
white,  peep  brightly  through  the  wilderness  of  the 
protecting  moss;  but 

'To  me  the  meanest  that  blows  can  give 
Thoughts  that  do  often  lie  too  deep  for  tears." 

— Wordsworth. 

Among  the  more  familiar  flowers  I  found  the 
dandelion,  two  kinds  of  watercress,  and  saxifrages. 
Except  the  moss  and  grass-covered  tundra,  with  its 
large  isolated  boulders,  the  valleys  and  mountain 
plateaus  are  covered  with  boulders,  stones  of  all 
shapes  and  sizes,  flat,  irregular,  and  round,  and 
tablets  of  slate.  The  time-worn,  aged  faces  of  the 
granite  and  sandstone  rocks  fissured  in  a  straight 
direction,  perpendicularly  and  horizontally,  have 
been  blasted  by  winter  frosts  and  summer  thaws, 
and  it  is  by  this  slow  process  that  the  enormous 
boulders  are  split  off  from  the  mother  rock  and  are 
carried  away  from  it  by  their  own  momentum,  or 
by  the  agency  of  glaciers  and  the  spring  torrents, 
to  their  final  resting-place. 

It  was  the  intention  of  Commander  Peary  that 
the  "Erik"  should  reach  North  Star  Bay  a  few  days 
before  the  "Roosevelt,"  to  give  me  an  opportunity 
to  hunt  reindeer  and  ptarmigan,  as  it  was  known 
that  this  part  of  Greenland  was  a  good  reindeer 
country  in  the  past.  Grass  and  fresh  water  are 
plentiful  here,  and  the  whole  lay  of  the  country  is 
an  ideal  one  for  these  two  kinds  of  game. 

It  was  not  known  that  at  this  time  we  should 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     121 

find  a  native  settlement  here,  and  in  that  event 
there  could  be  no  doubt  as  to  the  prospects  of 
a  good  hunt.  The  presence  of  so  many  natives  and 
their  numerous  dogs  threw  at  once  a  shadow  over 
the  outlook  as  far  as  hunting  game  on  land  was  con- 
cerned. On  the  first  day's  inland  trip,  which  covered 
at  least  ten  miles  across  valleys  and  up  and  down 
mountains  at  least  1,500  feet  in  height,  we  failed  to 
find  any  recent  signs  of  reindeer,  and  the  absence 
of  any  kind  of  bird  food  explained,  satisfactorily, 
why  the  ptarmigan  had  left  this  part  of  the  island. 
Of  land  birds,  I  only  saw  a  few  snow-buntings  and 
two  ravens.  Two  arctic  hares  were  seen  at  a  great 
distance  by  means  of  glasses,  but  the  absence  of 
anything  like  a  cover  made  it  impossible  to  get  within 
gunshot  range. 

From  one  of  the  mountain  plateaus,  we  obtained 
a  magnificent  view  of  the  great  inland  ice-cap  rising 
in  a  gradual  slope  in  an  easterly  direction.  Coated 
every  year  by  new  precipitations,  which  at  once 
congeal  and  form  a  part  of  this  gigantic  mass  of  ice, 
replacing  the  losses  inflicted  by  fierce  winds  and 
thaw,  this  ice-cap,  with  its  pure,  crystal  ice  and 
virgin  snow,  is  the  very  ideal  of  purity.  Look  at 
this  smooth  ocean  of  ice,  dazzling  in  the  bright  sun- 
shine under  the  blue,  arctic  sky,  and  the  pure  white 
snow  in  the  ravines  on  the  mountainsides  and  cloth- 
ing the  highest  peaks,  and  it  will  become  apparent 
to  us  why  poets  for  ages  have  selected  these  two 
products  of  cold  as  emblems  of  purity  and  chastity. 

"Be  then  as  chaste  as  ice,  as  pure  as  snow; 
then  thou  shalt  not  escape  calumny.  Get  thee 
to  a  nunnery,  go." — Shakespeare, 


22     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

"White  as  chaste,  and  pure 
As  wind-fanned  snow." 

— Beaumont  and  Fletcher. 

Even  this  thick  crust  of  ice  is  not  deep  enough 
to  hide  the  highest  mountain  peaks  along  its  border 
which  project  from  the  glassy  surface  in  the  form 
of  black,  conical  islands,  called  by  the  natives  nuna- 
taks. 

Through  glasses,  we  could  detect  great  crevasses 
which  extend  for  a  long  distance  inland  from  the 
border  of  the  ice.  It  is  these  crevasses  that  render 
the  first  part  of  the  journey  over  the  ice  tedious  and 
dangerous.  Of  insects,  I  saw  a  few  very  small 
mosquitoes  and  two  or  three  greenish  flies  when  we 
rested  on  the  sunny  and  leeward  side  of  a  high  rock 
during  the  early  part  of  the  afternoon. 


THE  MIDNIGHT  SUN 


I  have  seen  the  midnight  sun  from  North  Cape, 
Norway,  and  was  deeply  impressed  with  the  beauty 
and  solemnity  of  the  midnight  hour;  but  even  the 
sun  must  have  worthy  objects  upon  which  to  shine 
in  order  to  paint  pictures  that  will  charm  the  eye 
and  agitate  the  soul.  To  see  the  midnight  sun  in 
all  his  glory,  we  must  see  him  here  where  the  liquid 
and  solid  oceans  combine  to  form  a  double  mirror 
worthy  to  reflect  his  bewitching  rays  during  the 
solemn  midnight  hour. 

I  have  seen  the  midnight  sun  two  successive 
nights  before  landing  from  the  deck  of  the  vessel. 
The  rim  of  the  golden  disc  touched  the  summit 
of  the  promontory,  "Noah's  Ark,"  which  stands 
directly  in  line  from  the  point  of  observation  to  the 
royal  visitor  of  night.  Below  the  disc  of  gold  were 
the  dark  outlines  of  the  stupendous  rock  and  its 
shadow  thrown  on  the  smooth  surface  of  the  bay 
populated  with  icebergs  and  alive  with  eider-ducks, 
guillemots,  kitti wakes  and  a  variety  of  gulls.  Above 
the  smiling  disc,  with  a  background  of  delicate  blue, 
sailed,  lazily,  fleecy  clouds  like  moving  bridal  veils 
with  their  borders  tinged  a  rosy  hue.  In  the  fore- 
ground was  spread  out  the  rippling  waters  of  the 
harbor,  resplendent  in  the  golden  hue  reflected  upon 
it  by  the  orb  of  gold,  and  in  the  distance  the  great 
ice-cap  in  full  Alpine  glow.  A  panorama  of  such 
majesty  and  exquisite  beauty  no  artist  can  repro- 

123 


i24     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

duce  with  anything  approximately  equal  to  the 
original ;  and  no  author  can  describe  it  and  do  justice 
to  nature's  miraculous  works  of  art.  Even  the 
most  unappreciative  of  nature's  inexhaustible  ar- 
tistic displays  must  become  spellbound  when  face 
to  face  with  the  panorama,  painted  on  land  and  sea, 
by  the  midnight  sun  in  the  solitude  of  the  far  North. 
I  revel  in  the  anticipation  of  seeing,  night  after 
night,  for  the  next,  three  or  four  weeks,  the  glorious 
midnight  sun  from  different  points  in  the  very  heart 
of  the  arctics. 

THE  MIDNIGHT  SUN 
"Mighty  ruler  of  day  and  night! 

Conqueror  of  cold,  ice,  and  snow, 
We  greet  thee  in  this  land  of  blight, 
Upon  which  you  so  much  bestow. 

Glorious  orb  of  night  and  day, 

Shine  brightly  on  the  icy  shore; 
Your  choicest  gifts  do  not  delay 

Where  waves  and  ice  forever  roar. 

Life  and  soul  of  whole  creation, 

Shine  long  and  warm  where  now  you  are ; 

Warm  friend  of  every  nation, 

Keep  up  with  ice  your  bloodless  war. 

Light  of  heaven  so  near  the  pole, 

Breathe  warmth  and  life  while  you  are  here, 

Cheer  many  a  discouraged  soul, 

And  grant  your  favors  every  year." 

In  this  latitude,  the  midnight  sun  shines  for  no 
days  and  offsets  the  gloom  of  the  midwinter  night, 
lasting  for  118  days. 

Wednesday,  August  2d.  Yesterday  was  a  beau- 
tiful summer  day,  the  thermometer  in  the  sun,  rising 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     125 

to  80°  F.,  the  highest  temperature  recorded  during 
the  entire  trip.  I  was  out  all  day  hunting,  and 
even  a  light  sweater  felt  uncomfortably  warm.  This 
morning,  a  sudden  gale  set  in  from  the  north  with 
chilly  breath  from  the  region  of  everlasting  ice  and 
soon  converted  the  smooth,  peaceful  waters  of  the 
bay  into  angry,  foam-crested  waves.  The  wind  is 
so  strong  that  it  required  two  anchors  to  hold  the 
little  steamer  in  place.  I  wished  to  go  on  shore, 
but  the  captain  insisted  that  none  of  his  life-boats 
could  reach  it  with  any  degree  of  safety.  The  sky 
is  overcast  and  the  thermometer  has  fallen  to  42°  F. 
and  a  very  dense  fog  has  shut  out  familiar,  near-by 
landmarks.  The  natives  must  have  foreseen  this 
storm  as  all  of  them,  with  the  exception  of  an  old 
man,  his  wife  and  babe  and  two  boys,  left  the  ship 
last  night  without  giving  any  explanation  for  their 
sudden  departure.  These  children  of  nature  are 
familiar  with  the  indications  which  announce  bad 
weather  in  this  latitude  and  can  predict  almost,  with 
certainty,  sudden  changes  without  consulting  govern- 
ment weather  reports.  Their  kayaks  are  only  safe 
on  smooth  water,  and  no  Eskimo  can  be  induced  to 
go  out  in  stormy  weather. 

Drowning  accidents  by  tipping  over  of  these 
frail  crafts  are  by  no  means  rare  and  have  taught 
them  to  exercise  caution.  These  frail  canoes  are,  on 
the  average,  fourteen  feet  long  and  two  feet  wide  in 
the  center,  tapering  gradually  into  a  sharp  point 
fore  and  aft.  They  are  made  of  a  light  wooden 
framework,  the  different  pieces  lashed  together 
with  cords  made  of  walrus  hide,  covered  and  decked 


126     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

over  with  sealskins  deprived  of  their  hair,  leaving  a 
central  opening  only  large  enough  for  the  one  occu- 
pant to  sit  in.  When  a  woman  is  taken  on  board, 
she  lies  flat  on  her  face  on  the  rear  of  the  kayak;  or 
the  canoe  is  rendered  more  steady  by  fastening  two 
inflated  sealskins,  one  on  each  side,  a  little  behind 
the  prow,  when  she  can  sit  on  deck.  These  kayaks 
are  fine  specimens  of  ship-building,  skin-curing 
and  sewing,  and  are  so  light  that  they  can  be  easily 
carried  under  one  arm,  their  weight  not  exceeding 
thirty-five  pounds.  The  kayak  has  been  in  use  for 
a  long  time  by  the  Eskimos  of  South  Greenland,  but 
when  Captain  Cook  visited  the  Eskimos  of  Smith 
Sound  (1851-1854),  he  found  them  without  any 
means  whatever  to  travel  on  the  open  sea. 

The  Eskimos  here,  evidently,  received  their  first 
ideas  of  ship-building  from  their  countrymen  in  the 
Danish  settlements  and,  at  present,  turn  out  kayaks 
superior  to  any  of  those  found  along  the  coast  of 
Danish  Greenland.  The  scarcity  of  wood  in  North 
Greenland  is  best  shown  by  the  double  paddle  with 
which  the  kayak  is  propelled.  These  are  often 
made  of  many  pieces  of  wood  lashed  together  with 
walrus-hide  cords. 

Toward  evening,  after  the  storm  had  subsided, 
a  man  between  sixty -five  and  seventy  years  came  on 
board,  where  he  met  his  family  who  came  the  evening 
before.  He  was  a  cripple,  and  could  only  move 
about  by  crawling  on  his  hands  and  knees.  The 
palms  of  his  hands  and  the  bearskin  trousers  over 
the  knees  showed  evidences  of  hard  and  long  usage. 
We  learned  that  a  few  years  ago,  while  hunting  seal, 


'JUMBO,"    WIFE    AND    CHILDREN 
Tlis   first   day   on   crutches 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     127 

he  was  injured  by  the  bursting  of  the  barrel  of  his 
old  gun.  A  splinter  struck  him  over  the  right  eye, 
knocking  him  senseless,  and  he  remained  in  this 
condition  for  some  time,  until  he  was  rescued  by  his 
companions.  The  left  foot  was  frozen  so  severely  that 
gangrene  set  in.  Then,  after  months  of  suffering, 
the  line  of  demarcation  formed.  His  toes  dangled 
loosely,  remaining  attached  to  the  foot  by  the  more 
resisting  tendons.  He  begged  his  wife  to  sever  the 
toes  and  she  did  so  with  one  sweep  of  the  knife. 
The  end  of  the  stump  healed,  after  a  long  time;  but 
nearly  the  entire  plantar  surface  remains  in  a  state 
of  chronic  ulceration.  The  only  dressing  for  this  foul 
ulcer  was  a  slipper  made  of  bearskin  and  worn  inside 
of  the  sealskin  boot.  Several  scars  over  the  anchy- 
losed  ankle-joint  were  the  proofs  that  it  had  been 
involved  in  the  inflammatory  process  following  the 
freezing  of  the  foot.  The  foot,  or  rather  the  stump, 
was  fixed  in  a  flexed  position.  A  large  scar  over 
the  right  eye  and  a  deep  depression  near  the  root 
of  the  nose  on  the  same  side  showed  the  location  and 
extent  of  the  injury  inflicted  by  the  splinter  of  the 
bursting  gun.  We  disinfected  the  foot  and  ulcer, 
applied  an  appropriate  dressing,  instructed  his  wife, 
and  gave  her  enough  material  to  continue  the  treat- 
ment for  a  long  time.  The  man  was  a  giant  of  his 
race,  but  the  intermittent  pulse  and  the  difficult 
breathing  on  making  any  physical  exertions  showed 
only  too  plainly  that  his  time  for  hunting  polar  bear 
and  walrus  had  passed.  His  wife  took  no  inconsid- 
erable pride  in  having  amputated  his  gangrenous 
toes  in  such  primitive  fashion,  and  seemed  to  be  very 


128     /AT  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

attentive  to  him;  while  he,  in  turn,  reciprocated  the 
tender  affection  in  a  visible  manner  and  paid  much 
attention  to  the  infant  child  sleeping  in  its  mother's 
hood.  One  of  the  engineers  made  a  pair  of  crutches 
for  him  and  he  is  delighted  to  be  able  to  walk  erect 
with  their  aid.  Poor  fellow!  he  will  never  be  able 
to  provide  again  food  and  clothing  for  himself  and 
family,  but  the  members  of  his  tribe  will  take  care 
of  them.  As  long  as  any  of  them  have  food  and  furs 
they  will  not  suffer. 


"JUMBO'S"    LEFT    FOOT 

Toes   amputated.      Ulcer    on    the   sole 
of    the    foot 


THE  GREAT  INLAND  ICE-CAP 


I  have  seen  enough  of  the  inland  ice  of  Green- 
land to  have  become  impressed  with  its  vastness 
and  utter  desolation.  It  is  in  every  sense  of  the 
word,  as  Peary  calls  it,  the  Sahara  of  Greenland. 
From  North  Star  Bay,  a  splendid  view  of  the  ice- 
cap can  be  obtained  in  two  directions — one  over  the 
valley  and  the  other  at  the  head  of  the  bay.  In  the 
latter  place,  three  leaders  of  the  inland  ice  end  at 
the  water's  edge  in  the  form  of  iceberg-yielding 
glaciers.  One  of  these  glaciers  is  at  least  two  miles 
in  width.  To  look  at  the  smooth,  clean  surface  of 
this  gigantic  mass  of  ice,  which  holds  at  least  four- 
fifths  of  Greenland  permanently  in  its  merciless 
grasp,  reflecting  the  rays  of  the  all-day  sun,  as  I  had 
an  opportunity  of  doing  here  for  ten  consecutive 
days,  is  a  pleasure  allotted  to  but  a  favored  few. 
Near  the  edge,  ridges  and  peaks  of  buried  moun- 
tains project  above  the  sea  of  ice  in  the  form  of  bare, 
black  prominences,  in  strong  contrast  with  the  silver 
frosted  and  the  varying  delicate  blue  and  roseate 
colors  of  the  ice.  The  crevasses  at  the  free  margins 
of  the  ice  extend  far  into  the  solid  mass  and  break  the 
continuity  of  the  surface  in  various  directions.  The 
production  of  these  immense  fissures  is  attended  by 
detonations,  varying  in  intensity  from  the  report 
of  a  rifle  to  the  peals  and  mutterings  of  thunder. 
Everywhere  along  the  wall  of  ice  little  rivulets  carry 

9  129 


130     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

away  the  water  from  melting  ice  and  snow.  The 
purity  of  the  water  and  the  murmuring  of  these 
diminutive  watercourses  are  things  the  traveler 
enjoys  but  cannot  be  appreciated  by  the  natives. 

"Pure,  gurgling  rills  the  lonely  desert  trace, 
And  waste  their  music  on  the  savage  race." 

This  great  desert  of  ice  has  been  explored  by 
Nordenskiold  (1883),  Nansen  (1888),  and,  most 
thoroughly,  by  Peary  in  1892.  These  noted  explor- 
ers of  the  far  North  proved  that  the  interior  of  Green- 
land is  an  unbroken  sheet  of  ice  covered  with  snow 
and  ascending,  by  gentle  inclines  from  both  east 
and  west  coasts,  to  the  highest  summit  reached  by 
Peary,  8,000  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea. 

The  projecting  lands,  called  nunataks,  are  more 
numerous  in  South  than  North  Greenland  as  the 
melting  process  from  the  effects  of  the  summer  sun  is 
more  pronounced  there,  gradually  reducing  the  thick- 
ness of  the  ice-shield.  The  thickness  of  the  ice  in 
the  interior  is  estimated  by  Peary  at  5,000  to  6,000 
feet,  and  its  edge  is  often  1,000  feet  thick  and  moves 
constantly  toward  the  sea.  As  a  rule,  the  ice  move- 
ment seaward  is  only  sufficient  to  make  up  for  the 
loss  caused  by  thawing.  This  inward  ice  reaches  out 
its  cold  hands  toward  the  sea  in  the  form  of  glaciers. 
There  are  hundreds  of  them,  but  few  reach  the  sea  or 
are  of  first  magnitude.  Garde  counted  170  along  the 
southeast  coast;  but,  according  to  Peary,  there  are 
perhaps  less  than  100  in  all  Greenland  that  reach  the 
sea  and  produce  icebergs,  and  only  less  than  fifty 
of  them  are  of  the  first  importance.  According  to 
Doctor  Kane,  the  polar  glaciers  retain  a  temperature 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     131 

of  not  far  from  32°  F.,  which  enables  them  to  re- 
sume their  great  function  of  movement  and  dis- 
charge readily  when  the  cold  of  winter  is  at  an  end 
and  not  improbably  to  temper  to  some  extent  the 
natural  rigor  of  the  climate. 

The  production  of  icebergs  from  these  glaciers 
that  project  over  the  water  takes  place  by  debacle. 
The  event  is  announced  by  a  thundering  noise,  and 
the  leap  of  the  liberated  icebergs  creates  a  local 
storm  which  lasts  for  some  time.  The  dance  of  the 
iceberg  after  its  detachment  lasts  for  several  minutes, 
and  it  is  nearly  an  hour  before  the  smoothness  of 
the  water  is  restored  and  the  iceberg  has  found  its 
balance. 

Most  of  the  icebergs  that  reach  the  Northern 
Atlantic  have  their  origin  along  the  short  strip  of 
the  west  coast  between  68°  30'  and  75°  north  lati- 
tude. Glacier  movement  was  first  observed  and 
described  by  Agassiz  in  the  Alpine  glaciers  of  Switz- 
erland. Professor  Chamberlain,  of  the  University 
of  Chicago,  spent  one  summer  on  the  west  coast  of 
Greenland  for  the  special  purpose  of  studying  glacier 
movement  here,  and  no  better  field  could  he  have 
chosen  for  such  investigation.  Here  the  large 
glaciers  move,  it  is  said,  at  the  rate  of  about  two 
feet  an  hour.  The  great  glacier  near  Upernavik 
has  been  observed  to  move  ninety  feet  a  day;  but, 
according  to  Peary,  the  speed  of  glacier  movement 
has  been  generally  overestimated. 


LIFE  AT  NORTH  STAR  BAY 

Before  sailing  from  Sydney,  the  captain  of  the 
"Erik"  received  instruction  from  Commander  Peary 
to  make  the  first  stop  in  North  Star  Bay  and  to  wait 
there  for  the  "Roosevelt,"  his  ship,  until  August 
loth,  and  then  to  proceed  to  the  final  destination, 
Etah,  if  the  "Roosevelt"  failed  to  make  her  appear- 
ance by  that  date,  and  unload  there  the  cargo  of 
coal  and  whale  meat.  I  made  use  of  my  time  during 
our  sojourn  at  North  Star  Bay  in  exploring  the 
interior  as  far  as  could  be  done  by  daily  inland  trips, 
hunting  and  collecting  botanical  specimens.  It  was 
a  continuous,  long  day  with  bright  sunshine  nearly 
all  the  time.  The  temperature  ranged  between  44° 
F.  and  67°  F.  in  the  shade.  The  difference  between 
night  and  day  temperature  did  not  exceed  on  an 
average,  more  than  6J°  F.  The  summer  climate 
of  this  part  of  Greenland  is  noted  for  the  equa- 
nimity of  the  temperature.  The  air  was  dry  and 
bracing,  the  kind  of  air  that  invites  one  to  active 
exercise  of  body  and  mind. 

From  three  to  twenty-five  Eskimos  were  con- 
stantly on  board  our  vessel,  which  gave  me  an  excel- 
lent opportunity  to  study  these  interesting  specimens 
of  humanity  inhabiting  the  most  northern  part  of 
the  world.  A  personal  inspection  of  their  near-by 
settlement  satisfied  me  that  their  food  supply  was 
short,  and  hence  we  were  not  astonished  that  they 


i34     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

seemed  to  enjoy  the  ordinary  ship  diet  which  con- 
sisted largely  of  salted  pork  and  hard  tack.  They 
appeared  to  be  particularly  fond  of  coffee,  which 
was  served  out  to  them  in  not  too  concentrated  a 
form.  The  women  did  some  washing  in  a  most 
primitive  way  and  the  men  made  themselves  useful 
in  rowing  the  ship's  boats  to  and  from  the  shore. 
They  also  made  themselves  very  useful  to  me  in  my 
inland  hunting  expeditions.  As  money  is  here  no 
inducement  for  labor,  I  was  glad  to  have  brought 
with  me  a  liberal  supply  of  knives  and  scissors  with 
which  I  could  remunerate  them  for  their  services. 

As  the  natives  from  the  adjacent  settlement 
came  to  and  returned  from  the  ship  in  their  kayaks, 
we  saw  much  of  this  kind  of  native  marine  life. 
The  women,  and  children  from  eight  to  twelve  years 
of  age,  showed  themselves  peers  of  their  husbands 
and  fathers  in  managing  these  treacherous  little 
canoes.  If  I  had  done  nothing  else  but  study  the 
panoramic  views  all  around  the  ship  at  anchor,  the 
time  would  have  been  well  spent.  The  bay  teemed 
with  icebergs  of  all  sizes  and  endless  shapes,  from  a 
regular  square  as  though  it  had  been  cut  in  a  quarry 
with  the  upper  surface  as  clean  and  smooth  as  a 
polished  floor,  to  the  most  grotesque,  fantastic, 
and  artistic  designs;  and  from  the  size  of  an  entire 
block  to  that  of  a  dog  kennel. 

NORTH  STAR  BAY  AS  A  CEMETERY  FOR  ICEBERGS 

When  we  arrived  in  North  Star  Bay,  this  great 
sheet  of  arctic  water  was  punctuated  at  short  intervals 
by  icebergs  and  daily  newcomers  arrived,  seeking 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     135 

admission,  and  joined  the  multitude  that  had  pre- 
ceded them.  The  new  arrivals  came  fresh  and 
strong,  showing  little  wear  and  tear  during  their 
short  journey  from  the  near-by  places  where  they 
were  born.  They  must  have  been  astonished  to 
find  the  grave  changes  the  warm  midnight  sun  of 
the  oasis  of  the  arctic  region  had  wrought  in  those 
that  had  preceded  them.  The  warmth  of  the  sun 
of  the  arctic  summer  sent  down  upon  these  strange 
visitors  of  the  bay,  unceasingly,  night  and  day, 
soon  converted  the  bay  into  a  veritable  graveyard 
for  old  and  young,  large  and  small,  of  these 
messengers  from  a  still  farther  north.  The  sur- 
face of  the  water  was  strewn  with  glittering  rem- 
nants of  former  giants.  The  immense  masses  of 
floating  icebergs,  in  a  state  of  advanced  disintegra- 
tion under  the  effects  of  the  ardent  rays  of  the  August 
midnight  sun,  broke  up  into  two  or  more  parts  with 
a  thundering  crash,  after  which  the  reeling,  dancing, 
smaller  bergs  caused  a  miniature  storm  in  the  immedi- 
ate vicinity  of  the  accident.  Many  such  accidents 
we  witnessed  during  our  ten  days'  sojourn  in  the 
bay.  One  of  the  icebergs,  in  a  most  dilapidated 
condition,  came  near  enough  to  the  ship  to  be  las- 
soed by  the  sailors  and  hauled  to  the  port  side  of 
the  ship.  A  bridge  was  soon  thrown  over  the  gap 
between  the  deck  and  the  iceberg  and  the  sailors 
were  at  once  busily  engaged  with  ax,  pick  and 
baskets  harvesting  ice  and  filling  the  water  tanks 
with  the  purest  of  ice,  a  very  excellent  way  by  which 
to  replenish  the  failing  water  supply.  One  of  the 
icebergs  in  the  bay  had  dwindled  down  to  the  size 


136     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

and  shape  of  a  gigantic  champagne  glass  with  a  hole 
on  one  side,  in  which  we  saw  a  saddle-seal  taking 
his  afternoon  nap.  Along  the  east  shore  of  the  bay 
the  bergs  were  crowding  each  other,  obstinately 
holding  their  respective  places. 

Birds  perched  on  some  of  the  smaller  icebergs, 
resting  their  fatigued  wings  and  enjoying  the  warm 
sunshine  so  fatal  to  their  perishable  crafts.  The 
warm  weather  was  in  fierce  conflict  with  the  icy 
elements.  Reports  like  the  firing  of  a  cannon  an- 
nounced the  birth  of  a  new  iceberg,  the  breaking  up 
of  an  old  one,  or  a  new  gigantic  fissure  in  the  margin 
of  the  near-by  ice-cap,  and  the  noise  of  volley  firing, 
kept  up  almost  without  ceasing,  meant  accidents 
of  a  similar  nature  on  a  smaller  scale.  The  speed 
with  which  these  icebergs  succumbed  to  the  all-day 
arctic  rays  of  the  sun  was  something  astonishing. 
Nearly  every  day  I  crossed  the  bay  in  different 
directions  hunting  seal  and  arctic  birds,  and  very 
often  icebergs  familiar  one  day  would  be  unrecog- 
nizable the  next.  A  giant  entering  the  bay  in  the 
evening  would  be  found  dwarfed  the  next  day. 
Bergs  with  proud,  lofty  towers  and  steeples,  with 
arches,  doorways  and  windows  on  their  arrival, 
would  be  a  shapeless  mass  next  day.  Truly  our 
good  ship  was  anchored  in  the  very  midst  of  a  ceme- 
tery for  icebergs. 


SHORT  LIFE  OF  GREENLAND'S  FLORA 


We  came  just  in  time  to  see  Greenland's  floral 
exhibit  at  its  very  best.  In  our  climate  we  have 
spring,  summer,  and  autumn  flowers,  with  their 
distinctive  charms  and  characteristics.  Greenland 
has  no  spring,  no  fall,  and  the  summer  is  so  short 
that  nature  has  to  make  haste  in  her  vegetable 
kingdom  to  propagate  her  hardy  plants.  The 
flowers  bud,  bloom,  and  ripen  their  seed  in  the  short 
space  of  two  months.  There  is  no  time  to  mature 
sugar  or  starch-producing  plants,  and  no  time  to 
waste  in  growing  fragrant  flowers.  The  hardy  flow- 
ering plants,  which,  during  the  short  space  of  time 
allotted  to  them,  perpetuate  their  species,  are  found 
here.  All  of  the  flowers  are  small,  without  fra- 
grance whatever,  and  in  the  simplest  kind  of  dress. 
Few  of  them  have  more  than  one  color  and  most  of 
them  lack  the  delicate  shading  of  hues,  that 
distinguish  the  flowers  in  more  favored  climates 
and  impart  to  them  their  exquisite  beauty.  These 
plain  little  flowers  are  fresh  and  pretty  but  none  of 
them  are  gorgeous.  They  are  simple  and  modest 
and  make  no  attempt  at  display.  Owing  to  the 
shortness  of  the  season,  the  different  kinds  of  flowers 
blossom  nearly  at  the  same  time.  Under  the  magic 
influence  of  continuous  sunlight,  the  seeds  sprout 
and  the  buds  expand  with  an  activity  unknown  in 
our  climate. 

When  we  arrived  in  North  Star  Bay,  the  season 

137 


138     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

of  flowers  was  at  its  height.  The  yellow  poppy  was 
in  its  glory  and  in  many  places  draped  the  scanty 
sward,  the  mossy  tundra,  the  mountainsides,  and 
stony  mesas  in  a  garb  of  yellow.  A  tiny,  ruby-col- 
ored flower,  always  in  little  bunches  crowning  the 
leafy  stem  not  more  than  two  inches  in  length,  met 
the  eye  everywhere  and  grew  in  places  where  it  was 
difficult  to  detect  enough  soil  in  which  to  take  root 
and  from  which  to  abstract  enough  nourishment 
during  its  short  summer  life.  White  and  yellow 
are  the  prevailing  colors  of  the  flowers  in  the  heart 
of  the  arctics.  Some  of  these  flowers  and  the 
plants  producing  them  were  so  small  that  one  had 
to  look  very  carefully  to  detect  them  in  the  short 
grass  and  mosses  which  overtowered  them. 

At  the  end  of  ten  days,  when  we  left  North  Star 
Bay,  most  of  the  flowers  had  withered  and  their 
seeds  were  maturing  with  the  same  marvelous  rapid- 
ity as  the  previous  budding  and  expansion  of  the 
flowers.  The  constant  sunshine  and  the  warmth 
of  the  summer  air  act  like  charms  in  speeding  vege- 
tation, and  what  our  soil  accomplishes  in  several 
weeks  takes  place  here  in  a  few  days.  I  made  patient 
search  for  edible  plants,  but  only  found  sorrel,  two 
kinds  of  cress,  dandelions,  and  cowslips,  which  might 
be  utilized  as  vegetables;  but  none  of  these  except 
the  cresses  were  in  sufficient  quantity  to  serve  as  a 
vegetable  diet,  and  the  natives  could  not  be  induced 
to  make  a  trial  with  any  of  them.  The  vegetable 
kingdom  yields  grasses,  mosses,  and  flowers  only 
for  a  few  weeks  during  midsummer  and  the 
natives  have  no  appreciation  of  the  beauty  of  flowers 
and  no  desire  for  vegetable  food. 


MATERNAL  LOVE  OF  ARCTIC  ANIMALS 

Cold  and  desolate  as  North  Greenland  is,  it  can- 
not exterminate  maternal  love  in  the  animals  which 
inhabit  it.     The  struggle  for  life,  hard  as  it  is  in  this 
inhospitable  region,  has  had  no  effect  in  dimming 
the  spark  of  love  in  the  mother's  heart  for  the  helpless 
young.     Maternity  implies  care  and  much  anxiety. 
The  maternal  love  of  many  animals  equals,  if  it  does 
not  surpass,  the  love  of  the  human  species  for  its 
offspring.     The  female   polar  bear  will   defy   death 
in  defense  of  its  helpless  cub.      One  of  the  most 
dangerous  foes  is  the  walrus  when  its  young  is  in 
danger.     The  seal  mother  will  risk  her  life  at  any 
time  when  her  infant  is  in  need  of  her  defense.     Many 
stories  have  been  related  of  the  heroism  of  these 
inhabitants  of  the  far  North  when  the  lives  of  their 
little  ones  were  in  danger.     It  seems,  if  any  thing, 
that  the  arctic  climate  adds  fuel  to  the  fire  of  mater- 
nal love.     I  have  seen  this  virtue  exhibited  on  many 
occasions  during  my  hunting  trips  in  different  parts 
of  the  world  and  saw  much  of  it  during  my  brief 
stay  in  Greenland.     On  one  of  my  inland  hunting 
excursions  I  came  to  a  fresh- water  pool  in  a  valley, 
when  I  saw  an  eider-duck  flying  low    toward    the 
pool  and  evidently  with  the  intention  of  alighting 
on   the   pool.     The   second   barrel   dropped   her.     I 
then  saw  another  eider-duck  on  the  water  within 
easy  range  of  the  gun.     I  was  astonished  to  find 

139 


1 40     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

her  remaining  after  I  had  fired  the  two  shots.  In 
looking  for  the  cause  of  the  unusual  behavior  of  the 
bird,  I  discovered  nestling  near  her  three  tiny  yellow 
ducklings  that  evidently  had  left  their  shell  only  a 
few  days  before.  They  could  neither  fly  nor  dive. 
I  watched  this  fatherless  little  family  for  a  long  time 
and  noticed  that  the  little  ones  made  every  effort 
to  come  toward  where  I  was  standing.  '  Their 
frightened,  anxious  mother  did  everything  in  her 
power  to  ward  them  off  and  make  them  swim  in  an 
opposite  direction  by  a  peculiar  cackling  noise  and 
vigorous  movements,  keeping  them  together  and 
pushing  them  in  the  direction  of  greater  safety. 
In  walking  along  the  border  of  the  pool  I  discovered 
why  the  baby  ducks  wanted  to  come  my  way.  I 
found  a  nest  close  to  the  edge  of  the  water,  a  simple 
shallow  depression  in  the  grass,  and  near  it  three 
broken  egg-shells  so  recently  vacated.  I  finally 
cornered  the  family  in  a  narrow  part  of  the  pool, 
within  thirty  feet  from  me.  I  made  all  kinds  of 
attempts  to  chase  the  mother  away,  but  to  no  avail. 
Heroically  she  stood  her  ground  in  the  defense  of 
her  innocent,  helpless  infants.  Being  so  closely 
pressed,  she  commenced  to  become  defiant,  flapping 
her  wings,  raising  her  body  and  hissing  at  me  as  if 
to  say,  "Kill  me  if  you  dare!"  No  one  but  a  brute 
would  have  harmed  this  devoted  mother.  It  was 
a  source  of  pleasure  to  me  to  see  the  distressed  little 
family  made  happy  by  my  leaving  that  little  pond 
in  quest  for  more  legitimate  game. 

One  day  the  steamer,  after  a  long  and  vain  search 
for   walrus,    was   headed   toward    Saunders    Island, 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     141 

at  the  inlet  of  the  bay,  for  the  purpose  of  giving  me 
an  opportunity  to  see  one  of  its  great  bird  cliffs, 
and  do  some  wholesale  shooting  among  the  millions 
of  birds  that  make  the  cliffs  their  summer  home.  Our 
fresh  meat  supply  had  been  exhausted  for  some 
time,  and  my  only  excuse  for  doing  what  I  did  on 
this  occasion  was  to  secure  for  ourselves,  officers, 
and  crew  fresh  meat.  Within  half  a  mile  of  these 
cliffs  the  ship  was  anchored  and  two  of  us  boarded 
one  of  the  life-boats  and  were  rowed  within  gunshot 
range  of  the  cliffs.  It  would  be  impossible  to  give 
the  reader  a  correct  idea  of  the  wealth  of  bird-life 
here. 

The  cliffs  were  almost  perpendicular  to  a  height 
of  more  than  500  feet.  This  perpendicular  wall  is 
shelved  by  the  layers  of  sandstone  and  every  shelf 
was  densely  crowded  with  birds'  nests.  Two  kinds 
of  birds  make  these  cliffs  their  annual  breeding 
places,  the  kittiwakes  and  Brimmch's  guillemots. 
These  two  kinds  of  birds  are  congenial  to  each  other, 
but  here  as  elsewhere,  while  they  are  near  neighbors 
they  do  not  mingle  indiscriminately.  By  common 
consent,  the  kittiwakes  occupy  the  lower  shelves 
and  the  guillemots  the  upper. 

As  we  approached  the  island,  the  cliffs  became 
alive  with  birds,  and  the  air  resembled  the  surround- 
ings of  a  beehive  set  in  commotion  by  a  sudden 
intrusion,  literally  darkened  by  the  moving  shadows 
of  thousands  and  thousands  of  kittiwakes  and 
guillemots  flying  in  all  directions.  Most  of  the  young 
birds  were  still  in  their  nests  craning  their  necks, 
anxious  to  learn  the  cause  of  this  sudden  commotion. 


i42     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  shooting  now  commenced  and  it  rained  birds, 
which  fell  on  the  rippling  water  at  the  base  of  the 
cliff.  The  intensity  of  the  maternal  love  of  these 
arctic  birds  was  put  to  a  severe  test  on  this  occasion, 
but  it  remained  steadfast.  For  a  moment  after  a 
shot  was  fired,  the  old  birds  would  leave  their  home 
in  the  immediate  vicinity,  where  a  number  of  victims 
fell  dead,  but,  in  less  time  than  it  takes  to  write  this, 
their  places  would  again  be  occupied  by  others.  It 
was  their  little  ones  with  bills  wide  open,  terror- 
stricken,  unable  to  find  safety  in  flight  that  were 
responsible  for  this  manifestation  of  fearlessness  and 
heroism.  Shooting  under  such  circumstances  was 
no  sport — it  was  cold-blooded  slaughter,  but  we  were 
sadly  in  need  of  fresh  meat  and  here  was  our  best 
chance.  In  less  than  half  an  hour  two  of  us  killed 
140  birds;  none  of  them  were  wasted,  every  one  of 
them  was  used  in  changing  the  monotony  of  the 
scanty  bill  of  fare  on  board  the  "Erik."  The  skins 
were  eagerly  sought  by  the  Eskimo  women,  who 
chewed  and  dried  them  preparatory  to  making  them 
into  underclothing  for  the  coming  winter. 


AN  UNEXPECTED,  UNLOOKED-FOR 
VISITOR 


Until  very  recently,  the  Danish  possessions  of 
Greenland  did  not  extend  farther  north  on  the  west 
coast  than  Upernavik,  where  the  most  northern 
Danish  settlement  is  located.  This  settlement  was 
the  northern  limit  of  the  Danish  jurisdiction  on  the 
west  coast.  No  other  nation  made  any  claim  on  the 
land  north  of  Upernavik.  The  country  north  of  this 
point  was  supposed  to  be  unclaimed  neutral  territory. 
This  was  our  impression  when  we  were  in  North  Star 
Bay. 

Monday  morning,  August  yth,  a  steamer  entered 
the  bay,  and  as  we  had  no  reason  to  expect  any  other 
ship  but  the  "Roosevelt,"  we  were  glad  to  see  her 
arrive  in  good  time.  The  hunting  not  having  turned 
out  as  well  as  expected,  and  we  being  anxious  to 
proceed  farther  north,  which,  by  orders  given  by 
Commander  Peary,  we  could  not  do  until  the  arrival 
of  the  "Roosevelt"  or  the  expiration  of  the  time 
fixed,  August  loth,  every  eye  was  fixed  on  the  new- 
comer. Even  at  a  great  distance  the  vessel  appeared 
too  small  for  the  "Roosevelt."  As  the  ship  came 
nearer,  we  soon  ascertained  her  identity.  She 
carried  the  Danish  flag.  It  was  "The  Fox,"  a  200- 
ton  Danish  government  steamer.  The  little  coast 
steamer  anchored  as  near  as  possible  to  the  coast 
where  the  native  settlement  is  located.  During  the 
day  our  captain  paid  a  visit  to  the  steamer,  and 


i44     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

toward  evening  her  commander  came  on  board  the 
"Erik"  and  explained  to  us  the  object  of  his  visit 
to  this  part  of  the  coast.  He  brought  the  natives 
substantial  presents  from  Mr.  Erickson,  a  Danish 
scientist,  who  a  few  years  ago  spent  a  winter  on 
Saunders  Island  and  to  whom  the  Eskimos  had  been 
very  kind  and  rendered  him  much  valuable  service. 
He  sent  them  lumber,  firearms,  ammunition,  coffee, 
knives,  scissors,  needles,  and  many  other  articles 
which  he  knew  they  would  appreciate  out  of  grati- 
tude for  the  many  courtesies  he  had  received.  The 
Commander  also  informed  us  that  he  had  been 
instructed  by  his  government  to  find  two  harbors, 
one  in  this  bay  and  the  other  near  Etah  for  the  estab- 
lishment of  two  additional  Danish  settlements.  It 
is  expected  that  next  summer  the  necessary  govern- 
ment buildings  will  be  constructed,  thus  extending 
the  Danish  possessions  the  whole  length  of  the  west 
coast  of  Greenland. 

This  extension  of  the  Danish  rule  north  of  Uper- 
navik  has  for  its  objects  to  control  the  entire  trade 
in  fur,  ivory,  and  eiderdown,  and  to  civilize  the  few 
remaining  Smith  Sound  Eskimos.  This  move  on 
the  part  of  the  Danes  to  those  who  are  familiar  with 
the  resources  of  this  part  of  the  Greenland  coast  is 
a  profitable  business  enterprise,  as  iron  and  copper 
ore  have  been  discovered  here  and  the  trade  in 
ivory  and  fur,  and  the  eiderdown  from  Dalrymple 
Rock  and  Eiderduck  Island,  will  more  than  balance 
all  expenses,  to  say  nothing  of  the  possible  income 
from  the  mineral  resources.  Americans  have  done 
so  much  in  exploring  this  part  of  Greenland  that 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     145 

their  claim  on  it  should  be  valid,  but  unfortunately 
the  Danes  have  outwitted  us  in  this  matter  and 
all  Greenland  is  now  practically  under  Danish  rule. 
For  three  years  the  same  steamer  has  visited  nearly 
all  the  Eskimo  settlements  annually;  and  the  income 
from  ivory  and  fur  must  have  been  considerable, 
as  money  is  unknown  here  and  the  natives  are  given 
articles  of  merchandise  in  exchange  for  the  products 
of  chase.  The  Danish  government  treats  the  natives 
with  the  utmost  kindness  and,  with  a  view  to  im- 
proving their  conditions  of  life,  this  expansion  will 
bring  every  Eskimo  within  the  range  of  civilization. 
"The  Fox"  left  the  same  day  at  five  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon  on  her  return  trip  to  Egedesminde.  Be- 
sides the  officers  and  crew,  she  had  on  board  a 
government  physician  and  several  scientists. 


10 


THE    "ROOSEVEI/T"    IN    FOULKE    FIORD 


ARRIVAL  OF  THE  "ROOSEVELT" 


The  "Roosevelt"  was  sighted  at  one  o'clock 
Wednesday  morning,  August  pth.  Her  arrival 
marked  an  important  event  for  all  of  us.  I  was 
particularly  anxious  to  push  farther  north  and  spend 
as  much  of  my  time  as  possible  in  the  neighborhood 
where  so  many  explorers  had  spent  their  long  winter 
night.  With  the  stars  and  stripes  flying  from  the 
middle  mast,  the  vessel,  bearing  the  name  of  our 
strenuous  president,  glided  proudly  over  the  smooth 
water  of  the  bay  at  half  speed,  in  the  brilliant  light 
of  the  midnight  sun.  On  both  vessels  everybody 
was  on  deck  in  anxious  anticipation  of  the  meeting. 
When  within  almost  speaking  distance  the  "Roose- 
velt" struck  a  rock  with  a  heavy  thud,  and  came  to 
a  sudden  standstill.  The  "Erik"  at  once  went  to 
her  relief  and,  when  within  reach,  a  cable  was  carried 
across.  The  vigorous  reverse  action  of  the  pro- 
peller of  the  "Roosevelt"  aided  by  the  traction  of 
the  "Erik,"  in  half  an  hour  released  her  from  the 
hard  bed  of  rock  and  she  was  again  afloat.  On  the 
deck  of  the  "Roosevelt"  stood  many  fur-clad  Eski- 
mos, who  had  been  taken  on  board  at  Cape  York 
and  adjoining  settlements,  curiously  watching  the 
movements  of  the  "Erik"  and  scanning  their  country- 
men and  the  crew  on  her  deck.  The  dogs  on  deck 
of  the  "Roosevelt"  barked  and  howled.  In  the 
center  of  the  group  of  Eskimos  stood  Commander 

147 


i48     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

Peary,  in  his  summer  suit  of  fur,  towering  far  above 
them  like  an  immense  giant.  His  long  hair  fluttered 
in  the  morning  breeze.  He  wore  a  sealskin  coat, 
polar  bear  fur  trousers,  and  sealskin  boots.  He 
came  on  board  the  "Erik"  and  dispatched  the  "Roose- 
velt," under  command  of  Captain  Bartlett,  at 
once  to  Etah.  We  learned  that  the  delay  of  the 
"Roosevelt"  was  due  to  an  accident  to  one  of  her 
boilers  when  two  days  out  from  Sydney,  an  occur- 
rence which  reduced  her  speed  from  fourteen  to 
seven  and  a  half  knots  an  hour. 


COMMANDER    PEARY    IN    ARCTIC     SUIT 


COMMANDER  PEARY 


"The  gods  look  with  favour  on  superior 
courage. ' ' — Tacitus. 

Commander  Peary  is  a  remarkable  man.  His 
persistent  efforts  to  reach  the  north  pole  have 
earned  for  him  a  well-merited  international  repu- 
tation. He  has  made  this  feat  his  life  work  and 
is  determined  more  than  ever  to  accomplish  it.  After 
his  repeated  trips  to  the  arctic  regions,  he  has  spent 
two  years  in  making  preparation  for  this  expedition. 
During  this  time  he  planned  and  supervised  the 
building  of  the  "Roosevelt."  His  large  experience 
in  righting  pack-ice  has  given  him  many  new  ideas 
in  ship  construction  for  this  special  purpose.  The 
"Roosevelt"  is  an  ice  fighter  and  will  not  disappoint 
the  sanguine  expectations  of  the  one  who  gave  the 
most  important  ideas  to  her  designer.  No  expedi- 
tion ever  sought  the  north  pole  so  carefully  planned 
and  so  thoroughly  equipped  as  this  one.  Commander 
Peary  has  reached  the  fiftieth  milestone  of  his  daring 
career.  His  presence  in  any  gathering  would  at 
once  attract  attention.  He  is  above  average  height, 
spare  but  wiry,  has  reddish-brown  hair  and  beard 
lightly  sprinkled  with  gray,  blue  penetrating  eyes, 
firm  lips  and  massive  lower  jaw,  so  suggestive  of 
courage  and  determination.  His  slow,  accurate 
speech  and  precise,  quick  movements  remind  one  of 
his  naval  training  and  give  evidence  of  his  superior 

149 


150     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

executive  abilities.  Everything  about  this  extraor- 
dinary man  suggests  that  he  is  a  leader  of  men,  a 
man  who  makes  his  plans  carefully  and  then  loses 
no  time  in  executing  them.  He  is  a  great  worker 
and  knows  how  to  induce  other  people  to  follow  his 
example. 

He  is  plain  in  his  habits,  having  placed  himself 
in  training  for  this  arduous  work  ever  since  he  de- 
termined to  undertake  it.  He  told  me  that  the 
fewer  needs  a  man  has  in  this  part  of  the  world,  the 
less  he  would  miss  the  luxuries  of  home  life.  His 
familiarity  with  the  geography  of  North  Greenland, 
and  his  knowledge  of  the  natives,  their  language, 
habits,  and  customs,  and  his  vast  experience  in  the 
far  North,  which  has  taught  him  how  to  live  here, 
make  him  the  right  man  in  the  right  place.  His 
fearlessness  when  confronted  by  danger  is  well  known, 
and  has  been  tested  by  many  experiences  which 
would  make  ordinary  men  shrink  from  repeating 
them.  He  enjoys  the  confidence  of  his  many  Eski- 
mo friends  who  accompanied  him  on  his  previous 
expeditions,  and  who  know  that  they  can  always 
rely  on  what  he  says  and  does.  He  is  an  eloquent 
example  of  the  force  and  truth  of  the  sentiment : 

"Constant  exposure  to  danger  will  inspire 
contempt  for  it." — Seneca. 


FROM  NORTH  STAR  BAY  TO  ETAH 


On  this  part  of  our  journey  we  were  favored  by 
the  presence  of  Commander  Peary,  who  seldom  left 
the  bridge,  and  explained  to  us  the  different  points 
of  interest.  He  gave  us  interesting  accounts  of 
Eskimo  life,  the  habits  of  animals  who  inhabit  this 
region,  and  his  own  experiences  during  his  previous 
expeditions. 

We  left  North  Star  Bay  after  midnight,  August 
nth.  In  a  straight  line  the  distance  from  the  bay 
to  Etah  is  only  140  miles.  This  distance  was  more 
than  doubled  by  calling  on  the  four  or  five  native 
settlements  scattered  along  the  coast  of  Inglefield 
Gulf,  a  broad  body  of  water  which  extends  eighty 
miles  inland  from  the  main  coast.  We  arrived  at 
Whale  Sound  early  in  the  morning.  In  passing 
the  most  important  landmarks  of  the  coast  line, 
Cape  Parry  and  Cape  Radcliff,  we  had  an  excellent 
view  of  Hakluyt  and  Northumberland  Islands,  lim- 
iting Whale  Sound  to  the  north.  After  rounding 
Cape  Radcliff,  we  came  in  full  view  of  Barden  Bay 
and  the  great  Tyndall  glacier.  Beyond  this  point, 
the  coast  is  a  succession  of  rugged  mountain  peaks 
and  small  glaciers.  Among  the  latter  Peary  pointed 
out  a  secondary  glacier,  created  by  the  breaking  off 
of  an  enormous  mass  of  ice  from  a  glacier  which  did 
not  reach  the  shore;  consequently  the  ice,  falling  on 
firm  land,  formed  the  nucleus  of  a  daughter  glacier, 


152     /AT  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

which  in  the  course  of  time  reached  out  into  the 
frigid  water  of  the  sound. 

At  the  junction  of  Whale  Sound  with  Murchison 
Sound,  two  great  arms  of  the  sea  extend  inland, 
Inglefield  Gulf  and  Olrik's  Bay,  which  include  a 
large  island  and  are  connected  by  Academy  Bay. 
The  coasts  of  Olrik's  Bay  are,  at  the  present  time, 
the  favorite  haunts  of  the  reindeer.  Commander 
Peary  assured  me  that  large  herds  of  these  animals 
can  be  seen  from  the  deck  of  a  vessel  ascending  the 
bay.  It  is  from  this  locality  he  obtained  his  supply 
of  venison  during  the  winter  he  spent  in  Bowdoin 
Bay. 

It  was  the  intention  of  Peary  to  visit  every  native 
settlement  on  our  inland  voyage.  At  the  inlet  of 
Inglefield  Gulf  we  passed  Kanga,  but  the  most  vigor- 
ous blowing  of  the  whistle  brought  no  indications 
of  life.  The  old  Eskimo  settlement  here  had,  evi- 
dently, been  abandoned  and  the  natives  had  sought 
better  hunting  grounds  farther  up  Inglefield  Gulf. 

INGLEFIELD  GULF 

Inglefield  Gulf  is  unquestionably  the  most  pic- 
turesque spot  in  Greenland.  It  is  a  long,  narrow 
sheet  of  water  hemmed  in  by  rugged  mountains  and 
glaciers,  with  the  towering  ice-cap  constantly  in 
view  on  both  sides.  From  the  entrance  of  the  gulf, 
the  ice-cap  can  be  plainly  seen  at  its  head,  seventy- 
five  miles  away,  looming  up  far  above  anything  else, 
like  a  gigantic  mass  of  frosted  silver.  The  steep 
walls  of  gneiss  and  granite  enclosing  this  inland  arm 
of  the  sea,  intersected  by  deep  ravines  in  which  the 


-3    > 


g.     0 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     153 

glaciers  dwell,  moving  lazily  seaward  to  contribute 
their  share  of  young  icebergs,  are  a  sight  which  must 
please  the  most  unappreciative  eye. 

We  found  the  gulf  thickly  populated  with  mag- 
nificent icebergs,  and  between  them  no  inconsider 
able  amount  of  pack-ice.  Looking  ahead  of  the 
ship,  icebergs  and  pack-ice  appeared  to  form  an 
impassable  barrier  to  further  progress  and  our  cap- 
tain considered  it  as  such;  but  Commander  Peary, 
more  familiar  with  such  a  sight,  had  no  such  fear. 
The  man  in  the  crow's  nest  could  see  far  ahead  and 
pointed  out  lanes  through  which  the  vessel  could 
pass  with  safety.  The  innumerable  icebergs  in  this 
gulf,  all  of  them  offsprings  of  the  many  glaciers 
which  are  contributing  to  it  and  the  fields  of  pack- 
ice  crowding  their  way  between  them  on  their 
journey  seaward,  form  panoramic  views  of  ex- 
quisite beauty.  Inglefield  Gulf  has  a  warm  spot 
in  the  heart  of  Commander  Peary.  He  calls  it  the 
most  beautiful  part  of  the  oasis  of  the  arctic  region. 
He  spent  two  winters  of  his  eventful  life  in  this 
neighborhood ;  one  in  McCormick  Bay,  an  offshoot  of 
Murchison  Sound;  the  other  in  Bowdoin  Bay,  an 
arm  of  Inglefield  Gulf.  Anniversary  Lodge  of  Bow- 
doin Bay  is  the  birthplace  of  his  little  daughter.  It 
is  in  this  locality  that  he  is  perfectly  at  home,  and 
where  he  has  left  the  strongest  impressions  of  his 
careful  investigations  and  permanent  landmarks  in 
memory  of  his  devoted  and  courageous  wife.  The 
most  conspicuous  point  of  Northumberland  Island 
he  called  Josephine  Head,  and  an  island  at  the  very 
head  of  the  gulf  is  known  as  Josephine  Island. 


154     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

This  island  is  embraced  on  the  northeast  side  by 
two  great  glaciers,  leaders  of  the  great  ice-cap, 
Melville  Glacier  and  Farquhar  Glacier.  Nearly  the 
entire  year  one  can  ascend  from  the  island  over 
these  great  ice-bridges  to  the  inland  ocean  of  ice. 
The  iceberg  supply  never  fails  in  the  gulf.  Summer 
and  winter  they  are  present.  During  the  summer, 
as  the  veteran  icebergs  slowly  move  seaward,  new 
ones  take  their  place  from  the  many  contributory 
glaciers. 

Even  from  the  deck  of  the  steamer  we  discovered 
that,  in  moist  places,  along  the  coast  patches  of  green 
meadows  relieved  the  prevailing  monotony  of  bare 
rock  and  the  marble  whiteness  of  ice.  The  climate 
here  during  the  summer  months  is  delightful.  Fog 
seldom  comes  so  far  inland,  and  the  continuous 
sunshine  and  protection  from  severe  winds  make  it 
an  ideal  summer  resort  for  invalids. 

Arctic  vegetation  is  at  its  best  here  and  the  nu- 
merous natives  who  have  selected  the  gulf  coast  for 
permanent  habitations  would  render  a  brief  sum- 
mer visit  of  invalids  most  interesting  and  instructive. 


a.     SOUTHERN    SHORE    INGLEFIELD    GULF 
Showing  glacier  and  pan   ice 

THREE   GLACIERS   LEADING  DOWN    FROM    THE 
ICE-CAP    AT    THE    HEAD    OF    THE    GULF 


HOW  PEARY  COLLECTED  HIS  ESKIMOS 

The  popularity  of  Commander  Peary  among  the 
real  Eskimos  is  best  shown  by  the  way  in  which  he 
recruited  his  native  contingent  for  the  present  ex- 
pedition. At  the  first  inhabited  settlement  we  called 
upon,  we  could  see  from  the  deck  of  the  steamer  a 
number  of  women  standing  on  a  high  bluff  behind 
the  tents  gazing  at  us.  There  were  numerous  dogs 
prowling  about  the  grounds.  Five  tents,  near  a 
glacier  and  perched  on  the  banks  of  a  roaring  moun- 
tain stream,  made  up  the  habitations  of  the  natives. 

Commander  Peary  went  ashore  and  learned  that 
the  men  were  away  on  a  hunting  expedition  and 
were  not  expected  to  return  until  late  in  the  even- 
ing. The  third  settlement  farther  up  the  gulf  con- 
sisted of  the  same  number  of  tents.  As  Commander 
Peary  landed,  the  natives  gathered  around  him  and 
in  less  than  half  an  hour  we  observed  that  the  tents 
were  being  taken  down,  and,  under  his  personal 
supervision,  all  of  the  inhabitants,  twenty  in  num- 
ber, with  all  their  belongings  and  about  thirty  dogs, 
were  on  board  in  less  than  two  hours.  Two  of  our 
row  boats  and  the  native  kayaks  were  used  in  the 
house-moving.  These  people  knew  nothing  of  Peary's 
coming  in  the  morning,  and  in  the  evening  they 
were  all  safely  housed  on  the  deck  of  the  "Erik." 
The  confidence  of  these  people  in  Commander  Peary 
is  absolute.  They  have  served  him  during  his  pre- 
vious visits  and  know,  from  their  experience  in  the 


156     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

past,  that  they  can  trust  him.  The  natives  taken 
aboard  here  showed  all  the  indications  of  at  least 
temporary  prosperity.  They  were  a  happy -looking 
lot  of  people,  much  cleaner  and  better  dressed  than 
those  we  had  on  board  from  North  Star  Bay  or  those 
on  the  "Roosevelt"  from  Cape  York.  They  brought 
with  them  a  large  quantity  of  valuable  fur,  skins  of 
the  polar  bear,  reindeer,  seal,  arctic  fox,  and  hare. 
They  live  in  a  place  so  remote  from  the  coast  that 
they  have  had  but  little  communication  with  the 
outside  world ;  consequently,  they  have  remained  true 
to  their  primitive  habits  and  customs. 

Another  reason  which  goes  far  to  explain  the 
prosperity  of  these  people  is  the  fact  that  the  head  of 
Inglefield  Gulf  is  one  of  the  best  hunting  grounds. 
Walrus,  narwhal,  reindeer,  and  seal  are  quite  plenti- 
ful here.  The  narwhal  has  selected  the  head  of  this 
gulf  as  one  of  its  favorite  feeding  places  during  the 
summer.  The  walrus,  on  the  other  hand,  makes 
Murchison's  Sound,  near  the  entrance  of  Inglefield 
Gulf,  its  gathering  point  from  earliest  spring  until 
late  in  the  fall.  These  two  giant  sea- animals  are 
deathly  enemies  and  avoid  meeting  each  other  as 
much  as  possible;  but  when  they  do  meet,  a  bloody 
encounter  is  the  usual  outcome. 

About  midnight,  we  called  at  a  native  settle- 
ment on  Harvard  Island,  at  the  very  head  of  the 
gulf  and  within  full  view  of  the  ice-cap  and  a  number 
of  glaciers  of  the  first  magnitude.  The  natives  living 
in  the  two  tents,  their  dogs,  and  all  their  possessions 
were  on  board  the  "Erik"  in  less  than  two 
hours.  When  Peary  went  after  them  there  was 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     157 

no  need  of  making  any  arguments — their  faith  in 
him  was  all  that  was  necessary  to  make  this  unex- 
pected sudden  change.  House-moving  in  the 
arctics,  with  Peary  at  the  head,  is  a  very  simple  and 
prompt  affair.  I  doubt  if  any  other  man  in  the 
whole  world  could  accomplish  the  same  object  so 
promptly,  or  at  all.  These  Eskimos  had  killed  a 
narwhal  during  the  day,  and  brought  it  on  board. 
It  was  a  young  female  about  twelve  feet  in  length 
and  weighing  about  800  pounds.  We  saw,  during 
the  evening,  a  herd  of  these  animals  swimming  very 
much  like  the  porpoise.  The  interesting  features  of 
this  herd  were  the  males  with  a  horn  six  to  twelve 
feet  in  length,  their  gigantic  eyetooth,  projecting 
from  the  left  side  of  the  upper  jaw.  This  is  their 
weapon  of  defense  which,  during  the  bounding  gait 
of  the  animals,  often  appeared  high  above  the  sur- 
face of  the  water.  The  female,  as  a  rule,  has  no  such 
means  of  warfare,  relying  on  her  male  companion 
when  she  is  in  danger. 

DISSECTION  OF  A  NARWHAL  (MONODON  MONOCEROS) 

When  the  natives  cut  up  the  narwhal  I  improved 
the  opportunity  to  take  some  notes  on  the  more 
important  points  of  the  anatomy  of  this  interesting 
sea  animal.  The  skin  is  very  thick,  leathery,  and 
of  a  grayish  white  color,  and  is  considered  a  great 
delicacy  by  the  Eskimo,  who  eat  it  raw.  I  sampled 
this  Eskimo  dish  and  it  proved  quite  agreeable. 
What  chewing  of  gum  is  to  the  American  youth, 
narwhal  skin  chewing  is  to  the  Eskimo.  Fresh,  raw 
narwhal  skin  has  a  well-established  reputation  in 


i58     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

the  Danish  settlements  as  a  specific  for  scurvy.  The 
governor  of  Godhavn  informed  me  that  scurvy  is 
quite  a  common  winter  disease  in  that  part  of  Green- 
land, but  that  it  disappears  in  the  spring  as  soon  as 
the  natives  can  get  a  supply  of  narwhal  skin.  The 
layer  of  fat  between  the  skin  and  the  muscles  is  about 
four  to  five  inches  in  thickness.  Uterus  bicornis. 
One  of  the  ovaries  was  removed,  preserved  in  form- 
alin solution,  and  on  my  return  was  presented  to 
Dr.  Byron  Robinson  for  histological  study.  The 
muscle  tissue  is  very  coarse  and  scanty  in  amount 
considering  the  great  strength  of  the  animal.  Along 
the  posterior  surface  of  the  spine  is  a  band  of  glisten- 
ing tendon  tissue  about  five  inches  in  width.  This 
mass  of  dense,  fibrous  tissue  is  prepared  by  the 
women  by  chewing  and  drying,  and  the  fine,  long 
fibres  are  used  as  thread  in  sewing  clothes  and  boots. 
The  intestinal  canal  is  very  long  and  the  stomach 
appears  to  be  simply  a  dilatation  of  its  upper  end  while 
in  a  downward  direction,  gradually  diminishing  in 
size,  the  rectum  being  the  narrowest  part  and  which 
does  not  exceed  in  size  the  duodenum  of  an  adult. 
There  was  no  colon,  cecum,  or  appendix.  The  kid- 
neys were  oblong,  flattened,  and  markedly  lobulated. 
The  pancreas  is  situated  transversely  behind  the 
stomach  part  of  the  intestinal  canal.  Liver,  very 
flabby,  was  of  a  deep  chocolate  color.  There  was 
no  gall-bladder.  One  of  the  interesting  anatomical 
anomalies  of  this  strange  animal  is  a  rudimentary 
femur  about  four  inches  in  length  and  not  much 
larger  than  a  goose  quill  imbedded  in  the  muscle 
tissue  in  the  location  where  it  is  in  quadrupeds,  a 


IN  THE 'HE ART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     159 

probable  proof  that  ages  ago  the  narwhal  may  have 
been  a  four-legged  animal. 

Friday,  August  nth.  We  have  now  twenty-six 
Eskimos  on  board  with  their  families,  among  them  a 
number  of  infants.  The  babies  take  up  no  room, 
as  the  mothers  carry  them  in  their  hoods.  Among 
the  newcomers  is  the  most  famous  hunter  who  has 
had  many  scraps  with  polar  bears  at  close  range. 
Several  large  scars  on  different  parts  of  the  body 
bear  witness  that  more  than  once  the  victory  was 
dearly  won.  As  the  result  of  an  injury  he  lost  one 
of  his  eyes;  but  although  more  than  sixty  years  of 
age,  he  maintains  his  well-earned  reputation  as  the 
most  daring  and  successful  bear  hunter. 

The  increasing  number  of  natives,  and  the  more 
than  100  dogs  so  far  collected,  render  the  deck  more 
and  more  interesting  from  a  scientific  point  of  view, 
but  with  the  increase  of  the  Eskimo  population  and 
the  number  of  dogs,  filth  and  nose-killing  smells 
accumulated  at  an  alarming  rate.  Before  leaving 
Inglefield  Gulf  we  had  nearly  100  natives  on  board. 
Kayaks,  sledges,  tents,  harpoons,  fur,  over-matured 
blubber,  ribs  of  seal  and  walrus,  the  smell  of  which 
would  frighten  away  any  ordinary  dog,  were  stored 
away  wherever  room  could  be  found.  Our  lifeboats 
were  brimful  with  the  rubbish  household  articles 
of  the  Eskimos,  and  several  of  them  were  converted 
into  family  headquarters  for  the  balance  of  the 
journey.  The  half -tame  Eskimo  dogs  were  corralled 
on  one  side  of  the  deck  securely  picketed  to  reliable 
points  of  anchorage  with  walrus  hide  ropes.  These 
beasts  bark,  howl,  snarl,  and  whine  most  of  the 


160     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

time,  and  desperate  fights  among  themselves  can  be 
witnessed  most  any  time,  day  or  night.  The  fight- 
ing spirit  of  these  dogs  knows  no  limit,  and  all  of  the 
explorers  suffered  serious  losses  in  the  number  of 
their  dogs  from  this  source,  and  often  at  a  time  when 
the  loss  of  a  single  dog  weighed  heavily  in  the  balance 
of  failure  of  the  expedition. 

The  pools  of  blood  from  the  dead  narwhal  extend- 
ing as  they  did,  over  a  considerable  surface  of  the 
deck,  the  filth  of  the  improvised  kennels,  the  lively 
fights  of  the  dogs  for  their  share  of  the  smoking  en- 
trails of  the  slaughtered  beast,  and  the  eating  of 
putrid  meat  by  the  Eskimos  rendered  the  deck 
anything  but  attractive  at  this  time.  Besides 
this,  it  had  become  so  slippery  with  a  coating  of  grease, 
blood,  and  coal-dust  that  it  became  necessary  to 
exercise  the  utmost  care  to  avoid  accidents  from 
falling. 

It  was  after  midnight  when  we  took  on  board  the 
natives  of  the  last  settlement  on  the  north  coast  of 
Inglefield  Gulf,  after  which  the  course  of  the  ship 
was  directed  toward  Murchison  Sound,  the  favorite 
summer  feeding  ground  of  the  walrus. 

Murchison  is  a  wide  arm  of  Baffin,  Bay,  which 
separates  Northumberland  and  Herbert  Islands  from 
the  main  coast  between  Cape  Cleveland  and  Cape 
Ackland.  Like  Inglefield  Gulf,  it  is  seldom  free 
from  pack-ice  even  during  the  middle  of  summer. 
It  is  on  the  pack  or  drift-ice  that  the  walrus  are 
found.  Commander  Peary  has  never  failed  in  se- 
curing walrus  whenever  he  visited  Murchison  Sound. 
On  one  occasion  his  party  killed  thirty  in  one  day. 


KUD,    AND    HIS    CHUM 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     161 

It  was  the  intention  of  the  commander  to  devote 
this  day  to  walrus-hunting  in  Murchison  Sound.  In 
sailing  about  in  Inglefield  Gulf,  we  saw  many  seal 
swimming  in  the  water,  one  herd  of  narwhal,  but  not 
a  single  walrus.  The  arctic  birds  were  likewise  not 
nearly  as  numerous  as  in  North  Star  Bay.  About 
ten  o'clock  in  the  forenoon,  a  walrus  was  discovered, 
on  entering  the  sound,  asleep  on  a  pan  of  drift-ice. 
When  within  half  a  mile  the  engine  was  brought 
to  a  standstill,  and  a  boat  was  lowered  and  manned 
by  Eskimos.  The  animal  was  drowsy,  but  once  in 
a  while  raised  the  head.  It  allowed  the  boat  to  come 
near  enough  for  three  of  the  natives  to  throw  their 
harpoons  at  the  same  instant.  Two  missed  the  mark 
and  the  third  harpoon  struck  a  rib,  preventing  the 
weapon  from  penetrating  deep  enough  to  hold  the 
animal.  This  rude  disturbance  aroused  the  animal, 
and  in  one  desperate  plunge  it  disappeared  head  fore- 
most, and  was  not  seen  again.  Next,  a  pair  of  animals 
were  discovered  on  the  same  pan  of  floating  ice,  lying 
side  by  side,  but  took  to  the  water  before  the  har- 
poonists  were  near  enough  to  use  their  weapons.  At 
this  time  a  dense  fog  came  in  from  the  open  water  and 
put  an  end  to  the  hunting.  The  ship  was  allowed  to 
drift  among  the  many  icebergs,  which  often  came 
within  a  very  short  distance  before  they  could  be 
seen,  and  collisions  were  avoided  by  a  few  turns  of  the 
propeller  and  the  skillful  handling  of  the  rudder. 
Toward  midnight  the  fog  was  driven  landward  by  a 
rising  breeze,  clearing  the  atmosphere  sufficiently  to 
enable  the  captain  to  find  the  settlement  we  called  on 
first  the  morning  of  the  day  before,  and  in  less  than 

11 


i62     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

three  hours  had  all  of  the  dogs  and  the  desirable  men 
with  their  families  on  board.  These  roving  people  are 
not  encumbered  by  unnecessary  things.  The  clothes 
they  wear,  kayak,  sledge,  skins,  and  dogs  constitute 
their  entire  luggage;  and  this  they  carry  with  them, 
over  land  and  sea  wherever  they  go. 

The  Inglefield  Eskimos  are  the  possessors  of  a 
large  rowboat  presented  to  them,  a  number  of  years 
ago,  by  Commander  Peary.  This  present  is  much 
appreciated  by  them  and  it  has  done  excellent  ser- 
vice during  the  summer  months.  The  men  manage 
this  boat  with  skill,  and  use  it  during  their  hunting 
trips  and  in  moving  their  families  from  place  to 
place  along  the  coast.  To  be  called  on  at  mid- 
night and  transferred  to  a  steamer,  without  previous 
notice,  in  such  a  short  time  and  for  such  a  long  and 
dangerous  journey  is  certainly  a  feat  which  could  not 
be  duplicated  in  our  country  except  in  the  case  of 
a  well-disciplined  army.  These  simple  childlike 
people  had  no  hesitation  in  following  Commander 
Peary.  The  advisability  of  breaking  up  their  homes 
on  such  short  notice  and  following  their  leader  to  the 
extreme  North  was  not  discussed  for  a  moment. 
They  simply  went,  knowing  that  their  white  chieftain 
would  take  good  care  of  them,  and  bring  them  back 
in  safety.  They  never  considered  the  possible  risks 
of  such  a  move.  Their  implicit  confidence  and  firm 
faith  were  the  mainsprings  of  their  action. 

The  women  and  children  form  an  important  part 
of  the  expedition.  The  women  are  excellent  seam- 
stresses. They  prepare  the  furs  and  make  the  clothes 
and  boots.  Young  boys  skin  and  cut  up  the  dead 


2      C/3 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     163 

animals,  and  the  many  babies  complete  the  family 
ties  and  do  not  hinder  their  mothers  from  doing  their 
good  share  of  the  work.  The  Eskimo  will  not  leave 
his  family  for  any  length  of  time.  If  he  goes  hunting 
only  for  a  few  days,  his  wife  or  somebody  else's  wife 
must .  accompany  him.  We  have  several  on  board 
who  exchanged  wives  before  their  departure.  They 
are  mated  for  this  expedition,  and  on  their  return 
may  resume  their  former  marital  relations. 


ESKIMO  WOMAN   WITH   CHILD   IN   HOOD.      MAN    WITH 
CHILD    IN    His    ARMS 


THE  WALRUS 


The  walrus  is  one  of  the  large,  warm-blooded 
sea  animals  that  makes  the  arctic  regions  its  per- 
manent home.  It  will  not  abide  for  any  length  of 
time  where  there  is  no  ice.  It  rests,  sleeps,  and 
travels  on  floating  ice.  The  Eskimo  excels  in  walrus- 
hunting.  The  greatest  ambition  of  the  Eskimo 
youth  is  to  kill  his  first  walrus,  an  event,  when  ac- 
complished, which  elevates  him  at  once  to  manhood, 
elevates  him  to  the  dignity  of  a  hunter,  and  entitles 
him  to  seek  for  a  mate. 

This  huge  beast  of  the  sea  furnishes  the  Eskimos 
with  the  essential  articles  of  diet  and  fuel,  and  the 
hide  is  used  for  cordage,  igloo  roofs,  and  soles  for  the 
sealskin  boots.  It  is  to  the  natives  what  live  stock 
is  to  us.  The  walrus  (Trichechus  rosmarus),  called 
awick  by  the  Eskimos,  is  in  reality  a  giant  seal.  A 
full-grown  walrus  measures  from  twelve  to  twenty 
feet  in  length  and  weighs  from  1,000  to  2,500  pounds. 
It  is  a  very  unseemly  animal,  devoid  of  every  trait 
of  beauty.  When  seen  at  a  distance  on  pans  of 
floating  ice,  these  lazy,  sleeping,  or  half  asleep  ani- 
mals look  like  shapeless,  reddish-brown  masses;  and 
when  in  large  herds,  some  of  them  moving,  others 
motionless,  the  sight  is  almost  repulsive,  reminding 
one  of  a  multitude  of  creeping  maggots.  This  is 
the  impression  made  on  me,  when  we  saw  a  large 
herd  basking  in  the  sunshine  on  a  large  pan  of  ice 

165 


1 66  IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

in  Murchison  Sound.  The  walrus  is  an  awkward 
traveler  on  ice  and  land,  but  a  swift  and  skilful 
swimmer.  The  long,  flabby  body  is  thickest  in  the 
center,  like  the  seal.  From  the  immense  gray  or 
brownish,  almost  hairless  body,  the  rudimentary 
limbs  project  in  the  form  of  flippers.  All  four  feet 
have  five  toes  with  short,  dull  claws  behind  the  tip 
of  each  toe.  What  distinguishes  the  walrus  from  all 
other  sea  animals  of  its  size,  is  the  small  unshapely, 
thick  head.  The  nose  is  very  short,  broad,  and  blunt, 
the  upper  lip  large  and  fleshy,  curved  laterally,  the 
lower  lip  massive.  On  both  sides  of  the  nose  are 
transverse  rows  of  beard  bristles  three  to  four  inches 
in  length,  the  largest  about  the  size  of  a  crow's  quill. 
The  nasal  orifices  are  semi-lunar  in  shape;  the  eyes 
small,  deeply  set,  and  brilliant,  are  protected  by  pro- 
jecting lids.  The  aural  orifices,  devoid  of  anything 
resembling  the  lobe  of  an  ear,  are  far  back  in  the 
head.  The  most  remarkable  part  of  the  anatomy  of 
the  walrus  is  the  upper  canine  teeth,  which  develop 
into  tusks  of  prodigious  size.  These  teeth  or  tusks, 
in  the  adult  animal  are  twelve  to  twenty-four  inches 
in  length,  slightly  curved,  with  the  concavity  to- 
ward the  head,  and,  as  a  rule,  somewhat  divergent. 
Anomalies  in  the  development  of  the  tusks  are 
of  frequent  occurrence.  In  one  of  the  animals  killed 
on  this  trip,  a  female,  the  tusks  converged,  a  rather 
unusual  thing  according  to  the  observations  of 
Peary.  Inequality  in  the  length  of  the  tusks  is  very 
common.  The  tusks  of  the  female  walrus  are  more 
slender  than  in  the  male.  The  lower  jaw  in  the 
adult  has  no  teeth,  as  the  teeth  present  in  the  young 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     167 

animal  are  deciduous.  The  tusks  are  hollow  in  the 
young  animal  but  with  advancing  age,  are  trans- 
formed into  a  solid  mass  of  ivory. 

The  skin,  brownish,  or  of  a  mottled  gray,  is  very 
thick,  rugose,  knotty,  and  only  scantily  supplied 
with  hair.  When  in  mid-air,  as  the  carcass  dangles 
at  the  end  of  the  rope  which  hauls  it  on  deck,  the 
huge  body  of  this  animal  appears  as  a  shapeless  mass, 
flabby,  the  skin  too  large  for  the  almost  sickening 
mass. 

These  animals  migrate  from  one  feeding  ground 
to  another  in  large  herds.  It  is  a  lazy  animal, 
spending  days  on  the  bed  of  ice,  without  moving. 
The  walrus  is  not  a  gamy  animal  and  killing  it  by 
shooting  is  poor  sport.  Shooting  does  not  alarm 
these  animals,  as  they  have  become  accustomed  to 
such  noises  produced  by  the  cracking  of  ice.  The 
male  walrus  when  in  danger,  sometimes  shows  fight, 
as  well  as  the  female  when  in  charge  of  her  defense- 
less offspring.  On  land  these  animals  walk  with 
difficulty;  however,  they  do  not  crawl  but  walk  on 
their  imperfectly  developed  limbs.  The  tusks  serve 
them  a  good  purpose  in  climbing  on  the  floating  ice, 
in  making  breathing  holes  in  the  ice,  and  as  a  for- 
midable weapon  of  defense.  The  voice  of  the  walrus 
is  a  barking  noise;  but  in  impending  danger  it  turns 
into  a  hideous  howling. 

The  period  of  gestation  is  nine  months,  and  the 
result  is  one.  seldom  two  calves.  The  males  abandon 
the  females  during  that  time,  and  mate  again  during 
the  breeding  season.  During  the  summer,  Murchison 
Sound  is  inhabited  by  females  as  was  well  shown 


168     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

by  our  hunting,  which  resulted  in  seventeen  females 
and  only  one  male,  and  he  was  a  very  young  one. 

The  walrus  feeds  on  crustaceae,  especially  on 
mussels  found  in  shallow  water,  and,  according  to 
Mahn,  Browns  and  Green,  they  also  eat  sea-plants, 
especially  the  my  a  truncata  and  saxicacava  rugosa. 

The  internal  anatomy  of  the  walrus  is  very  sim- 
ilar to  that  of  the  narwhal,  described  above,  and  as 
shown  by  numerous  dissections  made  on  board  the 
"Erik." 

A  WALRUS  HUNT 

Saturday,  August  i2th,  was  devoted  to  walrus 
killing,  as  Commander  Peary  was  desirous  of  increas- 
ing his  stock  of  food  for  the  natives  and  dogs,  that 
were  to  accompany  him  on  his  intended  trip  to  the 
north  pole.  Both  the  Eskimos  and  their  dogs  are 
hearty  eaters,  and  to  get  good  work  out  of  them  they 
must  be  well  fed,  hence  this  wise  precaution  to 
supply  them  with  an  abundance  of  good  food.  Mur- 
chison  Sound,  the  favorite  haunt  and  feeding  ground 
of  these  animals,  was  selected  for  the  hunt.  The 
weather  was  all  that  could  be  desired,  calm  sea  and 
much  of  the  time  bright  sunshine.  The  numerous 
icebergs  and  pans  of  pack-ice  made  it  probable  that 
the  hunt  would  be  a  successful  one.  The  Eskimo 
knows  all  that  can  be  learned  concerning  the  habits 
of  the  walrus  and  the  best  manner  of  hunting  it.  A 
long  experience  has  taught  him  to  construct  from 
the  simplest  materials  the  most  ingenious  of  his 
primitive  weapons — the  harpoon. 

The  mechanism  of  the  whole  hunting  outfit  for 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     169 

walrus  and  seal  is  simply  perfect.  The  harpoon  is 
made  in  three  parts.  The  point  is  a  piece  of  ivory, 
three  to  four  inches  in  length,  tipped  with  a  sharp, 
triangular  piece  of  metal  and  its  base  is  hollowed 
out  to  fit  the  larger  ivory  point  of  the  shaft.  This 
larger  ivory  point  is  fastened  to  the  wooden  part 
of  the  shaft,  which  is  about  six  feet  long,  with  two 
cords  of  walrus  hide,  making  a  jointed  connection, 
so  that  after  the  harpoon  has  struck  the  animal  the 
shaft  at  this  point  bends  automatically,  thus  facili- 
tating the  detachment  of  the  shaft  from  the  point 
which  has  penetrated  the  flesh  of  the  animal.  A 
strong  line  of  walrus  hide,  about  100  feet  long,  is 
fastened  to  the  center  of  the  harpoon  point,  and  to 
the  opposite  end  is  tied  an  inflated  sealskin  which 
looks  like  a  small  balloon. 

The  walrus  line  is  arranged  carefully  in  a  loose 
coil,  so  that  it  unravels  readily  when  the  harpoon  is 
thrown,  and  with  a  view  of  detracting  as  little  as 
possible  from  the  force  with  which  the  weapon  is 
thrown.  The  seal  skin  balloon,  floating  on  the  water 
when  the  animal  is  near  enough  its  surface,  enables 
the  hunter  to  pursue  his  game  for  hours  if  necessary ; 
and  the  dragging  of  the  balloon,  when  under  water, 
increases  the  exertions  of  the  animal  and  brings  it 
sooner  under  submission. 

The  Smith  Sound  Eskimos  have  added  to  the 
line  another  contrivance  calculated  to  tire  out  the 
harpooned  walrus  in  the  shortest  possible  space  of 
time.  It  consists  of  a  shallow  wooden  box,  a  foot 
and  a  half  square,  the  inside  center  of  which  is  con- 
nected with  an  additional  rawhide  cord  fastened 


i;o  IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

to  the  main  line  nearer  the  harpoon  point  than  the 
balloon.  The  dragging  of  this  box  through  the 
water  is  done  at  the  expense  of  a  great  deal  of 
strength  on  the  part  of  the  wounded  animal.  Before 
the  use  of  firearms,  the  natives  pursued  the  animals 
by  means  of  these  most  ingenious  mechanical  con- 
trivances until  they  were  exhausted  to  an  extent 
which  made  them  harmless,  or  nearly  so,  during  the 
last  encounter,  when  the  hunter  approached  near 
enough  to  secure  his  game  by  a  thrust  of  his  lance. 

The  walrus  is  not  a  gamy  animal  and,  when  the 
hunter  is  armed  with  a  large  caliber  repeating  rifle, 
the  harpooned  animal  has  but  little  show  for  his  life. 
As  a  rule,  at  least  two  Eskimos,  in  their  kayaks, 
sneak  up  to  the  sleeping  or  unwary  lazy  animal 
on  his  bed  of  floating  ice  until  within  throwing  dis- 
tance, about  forty  feet,  of  the  deadly  harpoon,  when  it 
is  thrown  with  sufficient  force  to  penetrate  the  thick, 
leathery  skin.  If  the  point  does  not  strike  any  of 
the  superficial  bones,  it  enters  deep  enough  to  gain 
a  firm  hold  from  which  the  animal  never  can  release 
itself,  as  the  weight  of  the  shaft  and  traction  of  the 
line  bring  the  detached  point  into  a  cross  position 
to  the  wound  in  the  skin.  The  sleeping  or  unsuspi- 
cious animal,  so  suddenly  awakened  to  reality,  now 
plunges  head  foremost  into  the  water,  disappears  from 
the  surface,  but  is  soon  made  to  experience  that 
swimming  has  become  more  laborious  as  it  drags  the 
balloon  after  it  in  its  flight  away  from  the  enemy. 
The  balloon  disappears  soon  after  the  animal  makes 
its  plunge  for  safety;  but,  as  it  can  only  remain  under 
water  for  about  ten  minutes,  the  float  soon  makes 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     171 

its  appearance  again.  A  little  later,  the  ugly  head 
of  the  infuriated  animal  is  seen  a  short  distance 
ahead  of  it,  and  after  a  few  seconds  disappears  again 
to  seek  safety  from  the  pursuing  foe  in  the  depth  of 
the  water. 

The  hunter  has  no  difficulty  in  following  his 
game,  because  the  balloon  indicates  its  course.  As 
many  of  the  Eskimos  are  now  supplied  with  fire 
arms,  the  old  way  of  hunting  seal  and  walrus  has 
been  abandoned,  and  is  only  made  use  of  when  the 
ammunition  gives  out.  They  greatly  prefer  the 
rifle  to  the  lance  in  killing  the  harpooned  walrus,  as 
the  new  way  of  hunting  requires  less  time,  is  attended 
by  less  danger,  and  brings  more  game.  The  shoot- 
ing is  done  at  short  range,  and  the  only  fatal  spot 
is  the  neck,  about  six  inches  behind  the  rudimentary 
external  ear.  If  the  bullet  strikes  this  spot  the 
animal  is  killed  at  once  by  the  severing  of  the  spinal 
cord. 

Now  the  balloon  serves  another  very  important 
purpose.  The  dead  walrus  sinks  almost  the  moment 
life  is  extinct.  The  balloon  offers  sufficient  resist- 
ance to  keep  the  carcass  suspended  in  the  water. 
The  Eskimo  tows  the  dead  animal  to  the  landing- 
place  by  fastening  the  line  to  the  rear  end  of  his 
kayak. 

On  the  day  of  our  walrus-hunt  we  picked  up  as 
many  as  four  animals  at  one  time,  the  floats  marking 
their  location.  These  enormous  beasts,  which  on 
an  average  weigh  a  ton,  were  hauled  on  deck  of  our 
steamer  by  steam-power.  The  animal  is  brought 
alongside  of  the  ship,  and  a  sailor  in  a  rowboat 


172     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

makes  two  parallel  cuts  in  the  skin  on  the  back  part 
of  the  neck,  four  to  six  inches  apart.  This  bridge 
of  skin  is  then  undermined  for  the  insertion  of  a 
strong  iron  hook  at  the  end  of  a  rope  worked  by  the 
crane,  which  then  lifts  the  carcass  high  into  the  air 
and  swings  it  on  deck.  The  thick,  rough  gray 
skin  appears  like  a  huge  bag,  too  large  for  its  flabby 
contents.  The  killing  during  our  walrus-hunt  was 
done,  exclusively  by  shooting,  and  the  natives  did 
most  of  it.  The  Eskimo  hunter  is  a  good  marks- 
man and  always  averse  to  wasting  ammunition. 
He  knows  the  fatal  spot  and  only  shoots  at  very 
close  range  to  make  sure  of  his  work  with  the  rifle. 
The  white  men  who  took  part  in  the  hunt  went  in 
rowboats  manned  by  natives,  the  expert  har- 
poonists  and  hunters  used  their  kayaks.  Some 
of  the  animals  were  harpooned  before  they  were 
killed;  others  were  killed  on  the  ice  or  swimming, 
and  then  were  harpooned  to  keep  them  from  sinking. 
The  wounded  walrus,  when  closely  pursued, 
expresses  distress  and  fear  by  a  terrible  noise  which 
can  be  heard  at  a  considerable  distance.  It  is  a 
kind  of  bellowing,  a  compromise  between  the  mooing 
of  a  cow  and  the  deepest  baying  of  a  mastiff.  This 
bellowing  is  repeated  seven  or  eight  times  in  rapid 
succession.  Several  of  our  wounded  animals  gave 
us  an  opportunity  to  familiarize  ourselves  with  the 
strange  voice  of  this  great  sea  animal  when  in  agony 
with  pain  and  fear.  One  of  the  harpooned  animals, 
which  was  pursued  for  a  long  time  before  it  was 
killed,  was  a  female  accompanied  by  its  infant, 
which  clung  to  its  mother  until  life  was  extinct  and 


ESKIMO    WOMEN    AT    WORK    ON    DECK    OF    THE    "ERIK" 
CLEANING   WALRUS    HEADS 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     173 

the  ship  arrived  to  haul  the  carcass  on  deck.  The 
native  hunters  took  a  lively  interest  in  this  day's 
work  and  several  times  as  many  as  ten  kayaks  and 
two  rowboats  were  out  at  the  same  time. 

While  walrus-hunting  cannot  be  regarded  in  the 
light  of  a  sport,  it  affords  an  interesting  spectacle 
for  the  one  who  witnesses  it  for  the  first  time.  It  is 
a  sea  battle  in  which  the  Eskimos  display  their  skill 
and  cunning  as  hunters  of  this  huge  beast  of  the  sea. 
The  largest  herd  we  came  across  this  day  was 
collected  on  a  large  pan  of  ice  and  numbered  about 
fifty.  This  herd  was  left  undisturbed  until  after 
supper.  It  was  the  intention  to  surround  it  and 
attack  it  from  all  sides.  The  animals,  however, 
were  more  wary  than  usual,  and,  when  the  attack 
was  made,  disappeared  before  they  came  within 
reach  of  the  harpoon  and  guns.  Desultory  firing 
took  place  in  different  places  as  the  animals  ap- 
peared here  and  there  on  the  surface.  Several  were 
wounded  but  none  were  secured.  When  we  left 
Murchison's  Sound,  we  had  on  deck  seventeen  wal- 
rus, all  females  except  one,  one  seal,  making  a  small 
mountain  of  flesh  and  blubber  to  serve  as  food  for 
natives  and  their  dogs  on  the  "Roosevelt,"  during 
her  trip  to  the  farthest  North. 

A  number  of  Eskimo  boys  at  once  commenced 
to  skin  and  dismember  the  carcasses.  As  every 
walrus  contains  nearly  a  barrel  full  of  blood,  the 
scene  that  followed  can  be  better  imagined  than 
described.  As  the  young  butchers  proceeded  with 
their  work,  the  deck  became  flooded  with  grease 
and  steaming  blood.  The  boys  in  their  sealskin 


174     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

boots,  were  ankle  deep  in  this  slippery  mixture. 
The  more  than  a  hundred  snarling,  fighting  dogs 
dragged  the  entrails  in  all  directions.  Each  of  them 
determined  to  get  his  liberal  share  of  this,  to  them, 
their  greatest  delicacy. 

Men,  women,  and  children  waded  through  the 
pools  of  blood  and  scattered  it  all  over  the  deck. 
The  dogs  were  smeared  with  blood,  grease,  and  filth, 
and  this,  together  with  the  thirty  tons  of  coal  still 
on  deck,  will  give  some  idea  of  the  discomforts  of 
deck-life  during  this  part  of  our  trip.  I  have  en- 
countered all  kinds  6f  bad  smells  and  thought  that 
I  could  bear  everything  in  that  line  without  disturb- 
ing my  stomach,  but  now  the  stench  had  grown  in 
intensity  to  such  a  degree  that  I  had  to  apply  a  hand- 
kerchief to  the  nose  when  I  went  on  the  bridge  to 
breathe  fresh  air.  Even  the  bridge,  the  cleanest 
spot  on  deck,  had  become  slippery  with  blood  and 
grease,  carried  there  by  the  shoes  and  boots  of  those 
who  sought  refuge  here.  The  little  skylight  in  the 
ceiling  of  my  cabin  looked  like  a  big  ruby.  As  the 
galley  was  in  the  filthiest  part  of  the  deck,  the  steward 
and  cook  had  to  wade  through  blood,  grease,  and 
filth  every  time  they  went  to  and  from  the  kitchen. 

Such  was  life  on  the  "Erik"  until  we  got  rid  of 
the  undesirable  part  of  the  cargo  on  our  arrival  at 
Etah.  Etah  is  about  sixty  miles  north  of  Point 
Iglunaksuak,  the  northern  coast  limit  of  Murchison's 
Sound.  We  left  the  sound  at  two  o'clock  in  the 
morning,  and,  in  sailing  along  the  coast,  were  con- 
stantly in  sight  of  the  great  ice-cap  and  passed 
glacier  after  glacier,  intercepted  by  rugged  towering 


/AT  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     175 

capes.  The  scenery  along  this  part  of  the  west 
coast  of  Greenland  is  inspiring  in  its  grandeur  and 
severity. 

At  nine  o'clock,  Sunday  morning,  August  i3th, 
with  the  sun  high  above  the  lofty  mountains,  we 
rounded  Cape  Kenrick  and  soon  entered  Foulke 
Fiord,  where  we  found  the  "Roosevelt"  at  anchor 
near  the  shore,  within  a  very  short  distance  of 
the  ancient  Eskimo  settlement,  Etah.  It  was  a 
pleasing  sight  to  see  the  staunch  little  steamer 
destined  to  find  the  north  pole,  flying  the  stars  and 
stripes  from  the  topmast,  peacefully  moored  in  the 
quiet  waters  of  Foulke  Fiord,  where  so  many  arctic 
explorers  had  found  rest  and  shelter  in  the  past. 

It  was  here  where  the  last  preparations  were  to 
to  be  made  for  the  final  hazardous  journey  to  the 
farthest  North.  The  first  news  we  received  from 
the  "Roosevelt"  was  to  the  effect  that  soon  after 
her  arrival  a  fire  broke  out  on  board.  It  was  in 
Captain  Bartlett's  cabin.  In  some  unexplainable 
way  the  bag  containing  most  of  his  clothing  caught 
fire.  The  smoke  issuing  from  the  cabin,  was  soon 
discovered,  and  no  further  damage  was  done  than 
the  loss  of  the  contents  of  the  bag.  The  dogs 
were  at  once  taken  on  shore,  which  cleared  the  ship 
of  the  most  disagreeable  part  of  her  cargo.  The 
deck  was  flushed,  the  walrus  meat  transferred  to 
the  "Roosevelt,"  and  the  hides  salted  and  packed 
away  in  the  hold  of  the  "Erik." 

Now  came  the  difficult  task  of  uncoaling  the 
"Erik."  Two  life-boats  were  lashed  together  and 
covered  with  an  improvised  platform,  upon  which 


i76     77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

the  coal,  in  bags  and  barrels,  was  ferried  to  the 
rocky  coast  and  unloaded  on  a  stony  eminence 
above  high-water  mark.  It  was  anticipated  that 
in  three  or  four  days  this  work  could  be  finished, 
but  in  this  we  were  sorely  disappointed.  Several 
days  were  lost  by  the  sea  being  too  rough  for  the 
to  and  fro  passage  of  the  frail,  extemporized  barge, 
so  our  stay  in  Foulke  Fiord  was  prolonged  for  ten 
days,  when  threatening  weather  announced  the 
approach  of  winter  and  forced  the  captain  to  return 
with  only  a  part  of  the  cargo  of  coal  on  shore. 


ETAH 

Etah,  called  Etah  nami  by  the  Eskimos,  is  an 
important  and  historic  point  on  the  west  coast  of 
North  Greenland.  It  is  the  very  center  of  the 
arctic  region  and  has  been  the  winter  quarters  of 
a  number  of  arctic  explorers.  Doctor  Kane,  whose 
winter  quarters  were  only  about  forty  miles  distant 
from  here,  visited  the  settlement  repeatedly  during 
the  winter  and  received  much  valuable  aid  from  the 
natives.  Peary  and  Hayes  spent  each  one  winter  here. 
Etah  is  located  in  latitude  78°  20'  north,  less  than 
700  miles  from  the  pole.  It  is  a  very  ancient  Es- 
kimo settlement,  the  most  northern  habitation  of 
man  in  the  world.  The  five  igloos  are  located  on 
the  north  shore  of  Foulke  Fiord,  a  short  distance 
from  its  entrance,  near  a  turbulent  rivulet  which 
drains  a  small  glacier  and,  with  much  noise  and  im- 
patience, rushes  over  the  stony  bed  to  be  lost  in  the 
waters  of  the  fiord.  The  profuse  growth  of  grass 
in  the  neighborhood  of  the  settlement,  growing 
from  a  very  scanty  soil,  is  the  best  proof  what  fer- 
tilizers, in  the  form  of  offal  and  excreta,  can  accom- 
plish even  in  the  coldest  place  on  earth  inhabited 
by  man. 

At  the  head  of  the  fiord  is  a  similar  luxuriant 
meadow  marking  the  place,  where,  perhaps  for  cen- 
turies, the  natives  have  lived  in  tents  during  the 
summer.  Foulke  Fiord  is  a  small  arm  of  Smith 
12  177 


178     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

Sound,  hemmed  in  by  steep  mountains  from  1,000 
to  3,000  feet  high,  the  mountain  wall  affording  pro- 
tection against  north,  south,  and  east  winds.  In 
the  case  of  gales  from  the  west,  the  harbor  is  an 
exposed  one.  The  water  is  very  deep,  almost  up 
to  the  very  shore,  and  the  navigator  has  only  to 
look  out  for  several  small  islands  in  entering  the 
harbor.  When  we  entered  the  fiord,  snow-clad 
Cape  Isabella,  on  the  opposite  side  of  Smith  Sound 
twenty-three  miles  away,  in  the  pure,  rare  arctic  air, 
appeared  to  be  only  a  few  miles  distant,  and  Cape 
Sabine,  Greely's  winter  quarters  to  the  northwest, 
was  plainly  in  sight.  The  whole  coast  of  kllesmere 
Land,  of  which  the  two  capes  are  the  most  con- 
spicuous landmarks,  was  buried  under  ice  and  snow. 
It  is  in  Smith  Sound,  which  separates  Greenland 
from  Ellesmere  Land,  that  the  polar  current  along 
the  coast  of  the  latter  is  very  rapid,  about  eight 
miles  an  hour,  and  seldom  free  from  icebergs  and 
pack-ice.  It  is  in  this  body  of  water  that  the  navi- 
gators are  prepared  to  battle  with  ice.  We  found 
no  natives  at  Etah.  They  had  evidently  located 
somewhere  else  for  the  summer  hunting.  A  number 
of  tents  were  soon  erected  on  shore  and  were  occu- 
pied by  a  few  families  who  were  to  remain  here  during 
the  winter,  forming  the  base  of  Commander  Peary's 
present  expedition. 


THE  SMITH  SOUND  ESKIMOS 

The  Smith  Sound  Eskimos,  including  all  the 
settlements  from  Cape  York  to  Etah,  have  come  in 
closer  touch  with  the  explorers  than  those  of  any 
other  part  of  Greenland;  for  this  body  of  water  is 
the  principal  and  most  favored  gateway  to  the 
farthest  North.  Captain  Ross  called  them  the 
"Highlanders  of  Greenland."  They  live  in  almost 
complete  isolation,  having  had  little  communication 
with  the  natives  farther  south,  or  with  those  on  the 
American  Continent,  and  with  the  outside  world 
only  through  expeditions  for  the  north  pole  or  an 
occasional  visit  from  a  whaler.  The  latter  source 
of  intercourse  has  almost  ceased,  as  the  whales  have 
migrated  to  more  inaccessible  waters.  Before  ex- 
plorers visited  this  part  of  the  world,  the  natives 
lived  in  a  most  primitive  way.  Their  weapons  and 
sledges  were  made  of  ivory  and  bone.  Wood  and 
iron  were  unknown  to  them  until  the  white  man 
visited  them.  These  two  articles  are  appreciated 
by  them,  now,  more  than  any  other.  From  time 
to  time,  they  have  also  been  supplied  with  the  most 
necessary  implements — knives,  needles  and  scissors. 
Of  the.  luxuries,  they  have  learned  to  appreciate 
coffee  and  tobacco.  Their  diet,  clothing,  and  man- 
ner of  living  remain  unchanged.  The  number  of  Eski  - 
mos  on  this  part  of  the  Greenland  coast  vacillates. 
Doctor  Kane  estimated  their  number  at  143.  Peary, 

179 


i8o     77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

in  1892,  visited  all  of  the  settlements  and  counted 
253.  On  this  trip,  we  visited  all  of  the  settlements 
and  their  present  number  does  not,  certainly,  ex- 
ceed 175.  m  ^ 

THEIR  ORIGIN 

These  strange  people  have  no  idea  where  they 
came  from.  They  have  not  even,  like  most  primi- 
tive races,  a  legend  as  to  their  origin.  When  ques- 
tioned on  this  point,  they  invariably  point  north 
without  having  the  faintest  perception  of  what  this 
means.  It  is  more  than  probable  that  they  are  the 
remnants  of  a  once  powerful  race,  the  oldest  inhab- 
itants of  the  western  hemisphere. 

It  is  claimed  by  some  that  the  Eskimo  is  akin 
to  the  American  Indian,  and,  consequently,  of  the 
same  origin.  Food  and  climate  might  have  contrib- 
uted much  in  changing  the  physical  organization 
and  mental  state  of  these  people  during  the  course 
of  many  centuries ;  but  a  careful  study  has  convinced 
me  that  they  possess  many  striking  physical  and 
mental  characteristics  foreign  to  our  Indians.  On 
first  sight,  they  resemble  in  stature  and  facial  outlines 
more  closely  the  Chinese  than  any  other  race.  When 
I  traveled  through  Alaska  a  number  of  years  ago, 
I  made  the  same  observation  and  noticed  that  the 
Alaska  Indians  take  more  kindly  to  the  Chinamen 
than  the  Japanese  or  any  other  of  the  yellow  races. 
I  have  seen  no  closer  resemblance  between  any  two 
people  than  the  Buriates,  in  Siberia,  and  the  Smith 
Sound  Eskimos;  and  I  feel  confident  that  they  have 
a  common  racial  origin. 

Captain    McClintock    describes    these    people    as 


BURIATE    AND    WIFE 
Siberian  tribe   resembling  the    Esquinio 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     181 

he  saw  them,  in  1852.  "My  first  interview  with 
these  northern  Eskimos  was  in  1852,  when  com- 
manding H.  M.  S.  'Intrepid;'  then,  as  now,  the  men 
came  off  on  the  land  ice  to  us;  they  appeared  to  me 
to  be  very  little  people,  with  large,  flat  faces  and  a 
sprinkling  of  beard  and  mustache,  apparently  in 
sound  health  and  perfectly  happy.  A  party  of  us 
walked  to  the  land  to  visit  their  abodes  and  the  fe- 
male population;  one  vociferous  old  hag  met  us  at 
the  beach,  and  seemed  to  be  introducing  us  to  all 
the  rest,  and  gave  us  a  detailed  account  of  their 
relationships  and  accomplishments.  There  were 
three  tents  only;  words  can  scarcely  describe  the 
filth  and  wretchedness  of  such  abodes.  The  seal- 
skins composing  the  tents,  and  the  skins  of  various 
sorts  which  served  for  beds  and  blankets,  were 
scarcely  half  dressed,  and  emitted  an  intolerable 
effluvium,  whilst  the  ground  in  every  direction  was 
strewed  with  bones  and  decaying  animal  matter. 
The  dresses  of  the  women  were  covered  with  blubber 
and  soot,  their  faces  and  necks  black  and  greasy, 
and  eyes  bleared  from  constantly  superintending  the 
slow  process  of  cooking  in  a  stone  vessel  over  a 
smoky  blubber  lamp.  It  is,  indeed,  hard  to  realize 
their  state  of  existence.  They  have  no  vegetable 
food  whatever;  neither  wood,  nor  metal;  no  canoes; 
not  even  a  bow;  and  yet  they  exist  in  a  mean  annual 
temperature  of  34°  below  the  freezing  point,  further 
north  than  any  other  known  people,  and  where  the 
sun  is  absent  for  one  third  of  the  year!" 

This  is  a  fairly  good  pen  picture  of  the  Smith 
Sound  Eskimos  as  they  appear  and  live  today.     Sir 


i82     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

Clement  Markham  believes  these  people  are  rem- 
nants of  an  ancient  Siberian  tribe,  the  Onkilon, 
having  been  driven  out  by  the  Tartar  invasion  in 
the  middle  ages,  via  New  Siberian  Islands.  I  can 
not  escape  the  conviction  that  the  Smith  Sound 
Eskimos  are  direct  descendants  of  the  strong  Siber- 
ian tribe  known  as  Buriates,  and  that  they  found 
their  way  to  this  remote  part  of  the  world  in  con- 
sequence of  persecution  many  centuries  ago,  long 
before  Greenland  was  inundated  with  ice.  The  sim- 
ilarity of  these  two  people  in  stature  and  facial  ex- 
pression is  too  strong  to  escape  conviction  for  one 
who  has  made  a  study  of  them  in  their  own  countries. 
It  has  also  been  known  that  the  ancient  stone  dwell- 
ings discovered  in  some  parts  of  Siberia  bear  a 
close  resemblance  to  the  igloos  of  the  Eskimos. 
The  affinity  of  the  Eskimo  for  the  Chinese  was  also 
well  demonstrated  by  the  actions  of  the  little  Eskimo 
girl  that  Mrs.  Peary  took  home  with  her  in  1894. 
The  first  thing  that  attracted  her  serious  attention 
was  a  Chinaman  she  saw  in  the  street,  while  the 
many  new  things  she  saw  in  the  great  city  of  New 
York,  that  usually  interest  children,  made  little 
impression  on  her. 

PHYSICAL  CHARACTERISTICS 

The  Mongolian  type  of  the  Eskimo  is  pronounced. 
Obliquely  set  eyes  are  common,  but  not  constant, 
and  the  obliquity  is  never  as  marked  as  in  the  Chin- 
ese and  Japanese.  The  Eskimos  are  below  aver- 
age size,  with  thick  set,  short  legs,  large  head  and 
chest,  small,  even,  delicate  feet  and  hands.  The 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     183 

face  is  square,  and  flat,  the  molar  bones  prominent, 
and  the  lower  jaw  well  developed.  The  nose  is  well 
shaped,  often  aquiline,  not  unusually  wide,  and 
nasal  orifices  are  large.  The  eyes  are  invariably 
brown  and  small,  meek  and  friendly  in  their  ex- 
pression. The  eyebrows,  eyelashes,  and  beard,  and 
mustache  are  scanty.  The  cheeks  are  prominent 
in  many  of  them,  more  especially  the  children  and 
young  women. 

The  color  of  the  skin  is  slightly  dusky,  but  less 
so  than  in  the  orientals,  and  that  of  the  face  has  a 
slight  coppery  tint.  The  hair  is  jet  black  and  straight, 
flowing  loosely  over  the  shoulders  in  men;  tied  in  a 
knot  behind  in  women.  A  tendency  to  corpulency 
is  observed,  even  in  children  and  young  boys  and 
girls.  In  all  of  them  the  subcutaneous  fat  is 
abundant  and  the  circulation  of  the  skin  very  active. 
Obesity  is  the  Eskimo's  ideal  of  beauty.  eary 
refers  to  a  woman  four  and  a  half  feet  in  height  who 
weighed  300  pounds  and  who,  by  general  consent, 
was  acknowledged  by  the  men  as  the  beauty  of  the 
tribe.  The  women  are  much  smaller  than  the  men; 
the  average  height  of  the  former  does  not  exceed 
five  feet,  and  of  the  latter  five  and  a  half  feet. 

To  the  foreigner,  the  most  enviable  parts  of  the 
anatomy  of  the  Eskimo  are  his  hair  and  teeth.  The 
growth  of  the  hair  of  the  scalp  is  luxuriant,  and 
even  time  deals  gently  with  it,  as  it  does,  not  turn 
gray  until  advanced  age,  and  then  the  change  from 
black  to  white  is  a  very  slow  one.  I  failed  to  find 
even  indications  of  baldness  in  any  of  the  Smith 
Sound  Eskimos.  Captain  McClintock  met  with 


i84     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

one  bald  Eskimo  by  the  name  of  Kallek,  whom  he 
considered  as  a  remarkable  case  among  the  natives 
with  whom  he  came  in  contact.  He  lived  in  isola- 
tion with  three  families,  near  Lancaster  Sound, 
and  had  come  to  Greenland  over  the  ice  with  dog 
sledges. 

The  teeth  of  the  Eskimos  are  simply  perfect — as 
perfect  as  in  the  only  domestic  animal  they  know 
and  own — the  dog.  They  are  regular  and,  in  the 
young,  of  a  pearly  whiteness.  Caries  and  toothache 
are  unknown.  I  examined  the  mouths  of  a  number 
of  Eskimos  over  sixty  years  of  age  without  finding 
a  single  tooth  missing;  every  tooth  was  present  and 
firm.  The  only  perceptible  change  the  teeth  had 
undergone  was  a  gradual  wearing  away,  from  pro- 
longed usage,  until  the  crown  projected  but  slightly 
above  the  firm,  healthy  gums. 

Female  beauty  must  not  be  looked  for  here, 
although  Peary,  in  his  book,  reproduces  the  photo- 
graph of  one  who  is  perhaps  entitled  to  this  claim. 
Regular  features  among  women  are  the  rare  excep- 
tions. Beauty,  however,  is  a  relative  term,  as  what 
one  considers  a  beautiful  face  another  calls  homely; 
and  it  is  well  it  should  be  so  in  the  very  nature  of 
things.  A  distinguished  poet  says: 

"Beauty  is  nothing  else  but  a  just  accord  and 
mutual  harmony  of  the  members,  animated 
by  a  healthful  constitution." — Dryden. 

All  of  the  Eskimo  women  are  certainly  splendid 
specimens  of  a  healthful  constitution,  and  their  soft 
brown  eyes,  pearly  teeth,  and  luxuriant  black  hair 
contribute  much  to  their  charms.  The  average 


FORM 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     185 

unprejudiced  observer,  however,  would  say  of  the 
majority  of  them: 

"When  the  candles  are  out  all  women  are  fair.". 
— Plutarch. 

In  favor  of  these  women,  it  must  be  said  that 
they  do  not  sail  under  false  colors;  they  appear  as 
they  are,  natural,  even  in  the  presence  of  strangers. 

"We  found  her  dressed  without  gold  or  trinkets 
as  ladies  who  are  dressed  only  for  themselves, 
set  off  with  no  female  paints  and  pastes.". 
— Terentius. 

The  women  dress  the  skins,  dry  and  raw,  by 
chewing  to  render  them  pliable  and  soft,  a  neither 
pleasant  nor  easy  task,  but  one  which  they  perform 
with  patience  and  perseverance.  The  teeth  are,  for 
the  Eskimo,  a  veritable  third  hand,  as  the  women 
use  them  in  removing  from  the  skins  all  muscle  and 
adipose  tissue;  and  the  men  always  employ  them  in 
tying  knots,  relying  upon  them  more  than  on  the 
hands  in  determining  the  force  necessary  to  tie  the 
knots  securely.  The  men  are  strong,  but  not  noted 
for  prolonged  physical  endurance.  Most  of  their 
work  is  done  in  kayaks  and  on  sledges,  limiting  the 
exercise  largely  to  the  upper  extremities,  which 
may  explain  the  shortness  of  the  legs  as  compared 
with  the  upper  extremities.  The  chest  is  unusually 
well  developed;  a  fact  which  admits  of  the  same 
explanation. 

The  breathing  power  of  these  people  is  remark- 
able, approaching  almost  that  of  their  dogs.  I 
have  seen,  repeatedly,  during  my  hunting  expedi- 
tions men  ascend  the  steepest  mountain  to  a  height 


186     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

of  one  to  three  thousand  feet  in  a  continuous  run 
without  showing  the  least  embarrassment  of  breath- 
ing. As  the  Eskimos  have  always  lived  largely  on 
raw  flesh  and  make  frequent  use  of  their  teeth  in 
their  daily  vocations,  the  lower  jaw  of  men  and 
women  is  large  and  strong,  adding  its  large  share 
to  the  characteristic  physiognomy — flatness  and 
angularity  of  the  face.  They  do  not  use  oil  either 
for  the  hair  or  surface  of  the  body.  Combs  are  un- 
known, and  the  hair  is  kept  from  matting  by  separ- 
ating and  smoothing  it  with  the  hands.  The  ab- 
sence of  baldness  is  undoubtedly  due  to  the  free 
exposure  of  the  hairy  scalp  during  the  summer  and 
the  wearing  of  a  loose  hood  during  winter. 

In  contrasting  the  Eskimo  with  the  American 
Indian,  the  difference  is  to  be  found  less  in  their 
physical  and  physiognomic  features  than  the  disparity 
of  their  mental  status  and  peculiarities. 

MENTAL  STATUS 

The  Eskimo  is  a  child  throughout  life,  contented, 
happy,  free  of  care,  and  delights  in  childish  sports. 
His  habits  and  conditions  are  hardly  above  those 
of  animals.  His  only  concern  is  the  food  he  eats 
and  the  clothes  he  must  wear  to  protect  himself 
against  the  rigor  of  the  climate  he  lives  in.  He  is 
intelligent,  ingenious  and  thoroughly  humane.  Jeal- 
ousy and  selfishness  affect  him  less  than  the  ma- 
jority of  human  kind.  He  is  hospitable  to  a  fault, 
and,  as  a  rule,  honest  in  his  dealings  with  his  own 
kind  and  the  strangers  with  whom  he  comes  in  con- 
tact. 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     187 

The  physical  aspects  and  physiognomy  of  all 
Indians  are  very  much  the  same  from  Alaska  to 
Patagonia,  influenced  of  course  by  climate,  diet, 
occupation,  and  habits.  The  face  of  the  Indian  is 
stoic  and  expressive  of  a  surly,  unsympathetic 
earnestness,  sorrow,  and  even  melancholy.  Under 
ordinary  circumstances,  the  facial  expression  re- 
mains fixed.  The  lower  in  the  social  scale,  the  more 
indifferent  and  inexpressive  becomes  the  facial  mirror 
as  a  reflector  of  the  soul.  Not  long  after  the  dis- 
covery of  the  new  world,  owing  to  reports  made  by 
the  early  explorers,  the  question  arose  whether  or 
not  the  Indians  belonged  to  the  human  race.  This 
doubt  was  settled  in  the  affirmative,  by  a  papal 
decree,  in  1537.  The  Indian  is  not,  nor  will  he  ever 
be,  an  equal  of  the  Caucasian  race  in  mental  qual- 
ities, and  his  general  intelligence  is  inferior  to  that 
of  the  Eskimo.  His  special  senses,  like  those  of 
the  Eskimo,  are  extremely  acute — animal-like;  but 
his  reasoning  power  is  slower  and  more  limited  than 
that  of  the  Eskimo. 

In  courage,  the  Indian  is  far  above  the  Eskimo. 
He  is  revengeful  and  proud,  while  the  Eskimo  is 
innocent,  peaceful,  meek  and  friendly.  The  Indian 
has  no  fear  of  death;  the  Eskimo  loves  his  land,  his 
home,  and  his  people  too  dearly  to  take  unnecessary 
chances  on  his  life,  and  the  life  after  death  has  no 
charms  for  him.  The  Eskimo  dreads  the  word 
"sinipo"  (death),  and  avoids  this  word  whenever 
he  can,  and  speaks  of  the  departed  as  having  gone 
far  away,  and  not  as  having  died;  while  the  Indian 
believes  them  to  be  in  the  enjoyment  of  a  better 


1 88     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

and  happier  life  in  a  land  teeming  with  the  choicest 
game.  This  aversion  to  death  and  to  the  very  use 
of  the  word  is  not  of  recent  origin,  but  was  well 
known  to  the  early  explorers. 

Captain  McClintock,  in  meeting  some  Eskimos 
in  Boothia,  relates  the  following:  "I  inquired  after 
the  man  who  was  furnished  with  a  wooden  leg  by 
the  carpenter  of  the  'Victory;'  no  direct  answer  was 
given,  but  his  daughter  was  pointed  out  to  me. 
Petersen  explained  to  me  that  they  did  not  like 
alluding  in  any  way  to  the  dead;  and  that,  as  my 
question  was  not  answered,  it  was  certain  the  man 
was  no  longer  among  the  living."  Members  of  our 
party  had  the  same  experience  when  they  inquired 
about  men  whom  they  knew  and  who  were  not  found 
among  the  living.  All  the  information  that  could 
be  obtained  was  a  wave  of  the  hand,  indicating  that 
they  had  gone  far  away. 

Another  mental  peculiarity  of  the  Eskimo  is, 
that  he  does  not  like  to  be  cross-examined  on  any 
particular  point.  Making  one  statement  he  con- 
siders sufficient,  and,  when  not  understood,  he  soon 
becomes  out  of  patience  and  will  refuse  being  ques- 
tioned any  further.  The  childlike  nature  of  the 
Eskimo  is  best  shown  by  his  thoughtlessness  and 
disregard  for  the  future.  He  trusts  to  luck  or 
chance  in  all  things.  The  Indian,  lazy  as  he  may 
be,  has  some  concern  for  the  future,  and  makes  pro- 
vision for  the  same.  He  cures  meat  by  drying,  and 
stores  it  away  during  the  hunting  season  to  last  him 
in  the  time  of  want.  The  Eskimo  is  not  as  far- 
sighted,  and  has  no  idea  of  economy  in  times  of 


AN    ESKIMO 


/AT  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     189 

plenty.  The  Indian  is  moderate  in  eating;  the 
Eskimo  is  a  veritable  glutton  as  long  as  he  can  find 
something  to  eat.  The  amount  of  food  an  Eskimo 
can  dispose  of  exceeds  belief.  We  saw  many  in- 
stances of  this  kind  on  board  the  "Erik,"  where 
the  Eskimos  were  supplied  with  food  from  the  galley. 
Their  favorite  dish  was  pork,  and  the  amount  they 
consumed  was  fabulous.  I  observed  a  little  girl 
gorging  herself  with  salted  pork  and  then  she  went 
to  the  water  tank  and  drank  at  least  two  quarts  of 
water  without  any  ill  results  following.  She  at  once 
laid  down  on  the  deck  and  slept  for  hours  without 
waking,  and  the  next  day  showed  no  decrease  in 
her  appetite. 

I  will  let  Capt.  Parry  speak  on  this  subject:  "To 
the  capacity  of  an  Eskimo's  stomach  there  seems 
scarcely  any  limit.  Some  experiments  on  the  subject 
made  in  the  'Fury,'  and  carefully  noted,  produced  the 
most  surprising  results.  A  youth  named  Toolooak 
stands  recorded  as  having,  in  twenty-one  hours, 
received  into  his  stomach  ten  pounds  four  ounces 
of  solid  food,  a  gallon  and  a  pint  of  water,  with  more 
than  a  pint  of  soup.  Captain  Lyon  pitched  against 
him  Kangara,  who,  in  nineteen  hours,  finished  nine 
pounds  fifteen  ounces  of  solid,  and  a  gallon  and  a 
half  of  fluid."  Most  of  the  meat  is  eaten  raw.  They 
cut  it  in  long  strips,  introduce  one  end  in  the  mouth, 
swallow  it  as  far  as  the  powers  of  deglutition  allow, 
and  then  cut  off  the  protruding  portion  close  to  the 
lips  and  repeat  the  same  act  until  they  can  eat  no 
more.  The  Eskimo  has  no  regular  hours  for  meals. 
He,  like  animals,  eats  when  he  is  hungry  and  his 


1 90     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

stomach  appeased,  he  lies  down  and  sleeps.  Courage, 
defiance  of  death,  the  most  conspicuous  traits  of  the 
character  of  the  Indian,  are  at  low  ebb  with  the 
Eskimo.  Under  no  circumstances  will  he  make  use 
of  his  kayak  in  rough  weather.  He  values  his  life 
too  dearly  to  battle  with  a  rough  sea.  We  cannot 
say  of  him: 

"A  braver  choice  of  dauntless  spirits 
Did  never  float  upon  the  swelling  tide." 
— Shakespeare. 

He  could  not  be  made  to  believe  that 
"To  die  is  landing  on  some  silent  shore, 
Where  billows  never  break,  nor  tempests  roar; 
Ere  we  feel  the  friendly  stroke,  'tis  o'er. " 

— Garth. 

His  occupations  are  few — to  procure  food  and 
clothing.  He  is  satisfied  with  little  and  has  abso- 
lutely no  inclination  to  acquire  either  wealth  or 
influence.  His  temper  is  never  ruffled,  even  in  the 
face  of  want.  He  leads  a  tranquil  life,  free  of  all 
care  and  worry,  the  very  ideal  of  a  happy  life. 

"Let  thine  occupations  be  few,  saith  the  sage, 
if  thou  would'st  lead  a  tranquil  life." — Marcus 
Aurelius. 

and 

"Remember  this, — that  very  little  is  needed 
to  make  a  happy  life." — Idem. 

When  he  has  plenty  he  never  thinks  of  the  future, 
but  eats  and  eats  until  he  can  eat  no  more,  and  by 
doing  so  confirms  the  truth  of  the  old  saying: 

"The  appetite  of  the  belly  and  the  throat  are 
so  far  from  diminishing  in  men  by  time  that 
they  go  on  increasing." — Cicero. 


FEMALE    FORM 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     191 

The  Eskimo  is 

"Born  for  the  gratification   of  his  appetite, 
and  no.t  for  the  acquisition  of  glory  and  honor.'! 
— Cicero. 

When  want  and  starvation  stare  him  in  the  face, 
he  is  patient  and  uncomplaining.  The  improvident 
nature  of  the  Eskimo  is  responsible  for  much  suffer- 
ing and  many  deaths  from  starvation.  Doctor 
Kane  relates  that,  in  1830,  the  boat-crews  from  a 
whaler,  which  had  escaped  the  many  disasters  of 
that  year,  landed  at  the  Cape  York  Eskimo  settle- 
ment. They  were  surprised  as  they  approached 
the  tents,  to  find  no  beaten  snow-tracks  about  the 
entrance  nor  any  indications  of  the  presence  of 
human  beings.  The  riddle  was  explained  when  they 
lifted  up  the  skin  curtain  that  served  the  double 
purpose  of  door  and  window.  Grouped  around  an 
oilless  lamp,  in  the  attitudes  of  life,  were  four  or  five 
human  corpses,  with  darkened  lips  and  sunken  eye- 
balls, but  all  else  preserved  in  perennial  ice.  The 
frozen  dog  lay  beside  his  frozen  master,  and  the 
infant,  stark  and  stiff,  in  the  reindeer  hood  which 
enveloped  the  frozen  mother.  Some  three  or  four 
neighboring  huts  presented  the  same  ghastly  sights 
in  their  icy  interior.  Starvation,  during  an  unusu- 
ally severe  winter,  was  undoubtedly  the  cause  of  the 
complete  annihilation  of  the  entire  population  of  the 
settlement.  This  is  only  one  of  the  many  catas- 
trophes which  have  decimated  the  Smith  Sound 
Eskimos,  and  brought  on,  in  most  instances,  by  the 
improvidence  of  the  natives. 

The  Eskimo  is  kind  and  affectionate.     Toward 


192     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

his  family,  relatives,  friends,  and  strangers,  he  is 
liberal.  As  long  as  a  piece  of  blubber  is  in  the  camp, 
no  one  suffers.  Widows,  orphans,  the  sick,  the 
aged,  and  the  crippled  are  well  taken  care  of  and  are 
given  their  full  share  of  food  and  clothing. 

The  Eskimo  has  a  good  memory  for  faces,  local- 
ities, and  incidents.  He  is  ingenious  and,  like  the 
Chinese,  a  good  imitator.  Many  of  them  can  make 
a  good  sketch  of  their  coast  line  and  can  draw  rude 
representations  of  the  animals  which  frequent  their 
coast.  Their  sense  of  beauty  is  blunted.  They 
have  no  appreciation,  whatever,  of  the  beauties  of 
nature.  I  have  never  seen  one  of  them  pick  a  flower 
or  pay  any  attention  to  the  beautiful  flora  of  their 
otherwise  dreary  country. 

SOCIAL  LIFE 

The  social  life  of  the  Smith  Sound  Eskimos  is 
the  simplest  of  all  the  peoples  I  have  seen  in  many 
parts  of  the  world  and  under  the  most  varying 
climatic  conditions.  These  people,  reduced  in  num- 
ber to  less  than  200  at  the  present  time,  living  in 
small  settlements  along  the  coast  from  Cape  York 
to  Etah,  have  no  government  of  any  kind.  They 
constitute  a  family  rather  than  a  tribe,  having  every- 
thing in  common.  The  inhabitants  of  the  settle- 
ments, seldom  exceeding  twenty-five  persons,  living 
in  from  two  to  five  igloos  or  as  many  tents,  lead  an 
ideal  social  life,  with  no  laws  to  restrain  their  con- 
duct toward  others — depending  entirely  on  the 
dictates  of  their  conscience. 

Here  is  one  of  the  best  places  to  study  human 


n 


MY-A,   THE   ADONIS   OF   THE   TRIBE 


/AT  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     193 

nature  uninfluenced  by  civilization ;  to  study  the  con- 
duct of  man,  who  recognizes  no  government  and  has 
never  experienced  the  force  of  law.  Here  is  a 
people  that  has  neither  a  national  nor  tribal  govern- 
ment; a  people  whose  will  is  supreme  and  governs 
all  of  their  affairs.  Real  estate  an'd  personal  prop- 
erty are  unknown.  They  lead  a  nomadic  life  and 
erect  their  igloos  and  pitch  their  tents  wherever  the 
prospects  for  successful  hunting  are  most  promising. 

Their  only  needs  .are  food  and  clothing.  This 
is  a  part  of  the  world  free  from  politics,  and  a  place 
where  the  value  of  money  is  unknown.  These 
Eskimos  have  no  written  language,  and  their  thoughts 
are  expressed  in  not  more  than  300  words.  The 
tranquillity  of  these  communities  is  not  disturbed 
by  the  voice  of  steam,  the  ticking  of  the  telegraph, 
the  ringing  of  the  telephone,  or  the  reading  of  the 
daily  news.  The  excitement  of  elections,  grafts, 
insurance  scandals,  and  bank  failures  have  never 
disturbed  the  calmness  of  the  Eskimo  mind. 

The  lazy  ones  enjoy  the  benefits  of  the  labor  of 
the  more  active  and  no  complaints  are  made.  As 
there  is  no  property  ownership,  stealing  is  out  of 
the  question.  They  borrow,  but  they  cannot  steal. 
Some  of  the  early  explorers  accused  these  Eskimos 
of  stealing,  a  charge  which  was  undoubtedly  well 
founded  at  that  time;  but,  on  the  whole,  they  are 
honest.  On  our  entire  trip  not  a  single  act  of  dis- 
honesty was  discovered.  Many  times  I  dealt  out 
little  presents,  and  in  almost  every  instance  the 
recipient,  by  motions,  wanted  to  know  if  I  intended 
him  to  keep  it — a  very  good  indication  of  honesty. 

13 


i94     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  low  grade  of  thinking  power  is  best  shown 
by  the  lack  of  foresight  in  making  adequate  pro- 
vision for  the  future,  and  the  limited  vocabulary 
of  the  language.  The  natives  of  the  South  Sea 
Islands  have  no  need  of  storehouses,  as  nature  favors 
that  climate  to  such  an  extent  that  the  fruit  and 
fish  supply  never  fails  in  furnishing  them  with  an 
abundance  of  food  every  day  throughout  the  year. 
This  is  not  the  case  in  Greenland.  The  best  hunt- 
ing season  here  is  in  early  spring  when  the  ice  breaks, 
and  seal  and  walrus  come  to  the  coast  in  great  herds 
during  the  breeding  season,  after  which  most  of 
them  leave  and  migrate  farther  north.  At  the  time 
we  were  at  North  Star  Bay,  the  best  hunting  season 
was  long  past,  and  in  visiting  the  settlement,  con- 
sisting of  about  twenty-five  persons,  we  found  only 
a  very  small  amount  of  meat  left,  and  there  were 
thirty  dogs  picketed  there,  howling  for  something 
to  eat.  The  reindeer  had  left  that  part  of  the  coast, 
at  least  for  a  time;  hares  were  few;  ptarmigan  none; 
seal  few;  the  walrus  gone;  the  powder  supply  for 
old  muzzle-loading  guns  had  given  out — and  it  is 
hard  to  tell  what  those  poor  people  would  have  done, 
without  outside  help,  to  keep  them  from  starving 
during  the  coming  winter,  so  near  at  hand.  Had 
these  people  realized  the  uncertainty  of  their  food 
supply,  they  would  have  preserved  meat  when  it 
was  plentiful;  but  they  missed  that  opportunity  and 
were  then  facing  want.  The  squirrel  buries  nuts 
in  the  fall  to  last  during  the  winter,  but  these  chil- 
dren of  the  North  live  without  any  forethought, 
without  realizing  the  uncertainties  of  the  future. 


n 


TUNG-WE,    TALLEST    MAN    IN    TRIBE 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     195 

Centuries  of  hardships  have  not  succeeded  in  im- 
pressing upon  them  the  truth  of 

"The  more  we  deny  ourselves  the  gods  supply 
our   wants." — Horatius. 

Childlike,  they 

"Shun  to  seek  what  is  hid  in  the  womb  of 
the  morrow,  and  set  down  as  gain  in  life's  ledg- 
er whatever  time  fate  shall  have  granted  thee.'l 
— Idem. 

The  lack  of  anything  like  a  good  mental  capacity 
is  also  shown  by  the  poverty  of  the  vocabulary  of 
their  language.  The  language,  called  Karalit,  is  a 
synthetic  one,  made  up  of  few  words.  The  pro- 
nunciation of  some  of  the  words  is  exceedingly  diffi- 
cult, and  it  is  almost  impossible  to  represent  them 
correctly  in  our  letters.  This  is  why  the  different 
explorers  who  remained  long  enough  with  the  natives 
to  acquire  their  language,  do  not  spell  the  words 
alike,  as  they  had  to  be  guided  entirely  by  sound 
in  repi  ^ducing  them  in  our  letters.  For  things  new 
to  the  Eskimo,  such  as  are  brought  to  them  by 
foreigners,  they  are  incorporating  English  words 
in  their  language.  The  guttural  sounds,  of  which 
there  are  many,  require  special  training  of  the  phar- 
ynx and  tongue.  The  same  word  differently  pro- 
nounced may  mean  many  different  things.  In  1851, 
Egede  Kleinschmidt  put  the  language  in  gram- 
matical form,  a  task  which  required  much  labor  and 
an  intimate  knowledge  of  the  language. 

It  is  very  fortunate  that,  so  far,  the  natives  have 
had  but  few  opportunities  to  tempt  them  to  indulge 
in  alcoholic  liquors.  In  the  Danish  settlements, 


196     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

the  sale  of  intoxicating  drinks  is  strictly  prohibited 
by  law.  From  what  I  have  seen  of  the  Eskimos 
of  this  part  of  Greenland,  I  am  confident,  that,  if 
given  a  chance,  they  would  equal  the  Indians  in 
their  love  for  liquor,  and  that  the  results  of  such 
indulgence  would  be  equally  disastrous. 

The  marriage  ties  are  very  elastic.  Virtue,  as 
we  interpret  this  word,  does  not  exist  among  the 
Eskimos.  As  the  husband  has  to  supply  the  family 
with  food  and  fur,  for  clothing  and  bedding,  he  finds 
it  difficult  to  support  more  than  one  wife  and  a 
limited  number  of  children;  hence  polygamy,  al- 
though not  considered  wrong,  is  seldom  practised. 
I  saw  only  two  men,  both  of  them  on  the  shady  side 
of  life,  who  took  pride  in  the  fact  that  each  of  them 
had  two  wives.  The  only  requirement  exacted  of 
a  young  man  who  wants  to  take  a  wife  is  to  be  a 
good  hunter,  a  practical  proof  that  he  can  take  care 
of  himself  and  family  and  not  become  a  burden  on 
the  community  in  which  he  lives.  If  he  has  killed 
big  game,  a  polar  bear  or  a  walrus,  his  way  to  the 
wedded  state  is  an  easy  one.  Long  courtships  are 
superfluous.  Kissing,  even  among  lovers,  is  un- 
known. Touching  with  the  tip  of  noses  is  here  in 
vogue  instead  of  kissing,  and  is  the  expression  of 
the  most  tender  feeling  the  Eskimo  knows  of.  When 
a  young  man  makes  up  his  mind  to  find  a  mate,  he 
selects  his  bride  from  the  available  material  and,  if 
she  consents,  he  takes  her  to  his  igloo  or  tent  without 
any  previous  ceremony  whatever.  After  this  kind 
of  mating,  he  supplies  her  with  the  necessities  of 
life,  and  she,  in  return,  makes  and  mends  his  clothes, 


ESKIMO    WOMEN 
Akatingua,  Otero,  Avarme 


/AT  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     197 

dresses  the  fur,  and  attends  to  the  oil-lamp  and 
whatever  little  cooking  there  is  to  be  done.  No 
promises  are  made,  consequently  none  can  be  broken. 
Occasionally  the  event  is  celebrated  by  chanting 
the  monotonous  native  song  and  an  extra  ration  of 
blubber.  If  two  suitors  have  their  eyes  on  the  same 
girl,  the  matter  is  settled  in  her  presence  by  a  con- 
test of  strength.  They  lock  elbows,  and  the  one 
who  straightens  out  the  forearm  of  the  other  is  the 
winner  and  claims  the  bride.  What  counts  much 
in  the  estimation  of  the  girl  is  skill  and  success  in 
hunting,  and,  as  the  best  hunter  is  usually  the  strong- 
est, the  result  of  the  test  is  acceptable  to  her.  Such 
contests  are  simply  a  repetition  of  the  old,  old  story : 

"Why,  the  weakest  always  goes  to  the  wall." 
— Plautus. 

The  test  is  a  fair  one  and  the  choice  of  a  mate 
is  decided  without  bloodshed  or  even  an  ill-feeling. 
If  the  sea  of  married  life  becomes  boisterous,  the 
husband  brings  back  his  wife  to  where  she  came 
from;  but,  in  this  event,  he  is  expected  to  do  some- 
thing toward  her  future  support,  usually  by  pre- 
senting to  her  family  a  kayak  or  an  equivalent  in 
fur,  until  she  is  mated  again.  The  marriage,  or  as 
it  should  be  termed  here,  mating,  is  not  necessarily 
meant  for  life.  The  husband  regards  his  wife  as 
his  property  to  be  disposed  of  as  he  deems  for  his 
best  interest.  The  woman  is  not  the  equal  of  her 
husband.  She  is  always  subordinate  to  his  will. 
Captain  Ross,  in  1830,  found  matrimonial  affairs 
about  the  same  as  they  exist  today.  "Their  mat- 
rimonial arrangements  are  more  singular,  and  in 


1 98     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

some  points  more  exceptionable,  than  could 
naturally  have  been  expected.  Convenience  and 
interest  seem  the  ruling  motives.  More  culpable 
accommodations  are  sometimes  procured  by  polyg- 
amy, even  in  the  form  of  two  men  having  one  wife 
and  by  an  exchange  of  wives,  either  permanent  or 
temporary."  It  is  not  at  all  uncommon  for  men 
to  exchange  wives  for  a  year  at  the  annual  gather- 
ing in  the  spring  at  Petrowik,  near  Murchison's 
Sound.  It  is  generally  understood  that  this  ar- 
rangement should  only  last  a  year,  but  sometimes 
this  change  proves  so  satisfactory  to  one  of  the 
male  parties  that  he  refuses  to  take  back  his  former 
spouse.  This  was  the  case  with  My  a,  one  of  the 
best  looking  and  most  intelligent  men  we  met  at 
North  Star  Bay.  A  few  years  ago  he  made  such  a 
trade;  but  when  the  time  expired,  at  the  end  of  the 
year,  he  refused  to  give  up  his  friend's  wife  for  his 
own,  well  satisfied  that  the  other  fellow  got  the  worst 
of  the  bargain.  As  he  was  the  stronger  of  the  two, 
there  was  nothing  left  for  the  other  man  to  do  but 
to  be  content  with  the  new  arrangement  forced  upon 
him  by  his  superior.  The  woman  in  question  came 
on  board  with  two  little  children  and  an  infant  in 
her  hood.  She  was  anything  but  a  beauty,  but 
must  have  possessed  qualities  which  commended 
her  to  her  new  alliance  which  the  first  one  lacked. 
*-  Things  that  agitate  our  divorce  courts  were  settled 
here  in  the  simplest  possible  way  and  without  any 
sensationalism.  Both  husband  and  wife  appeared 
to  be  happy  and  were  about  the  best  dressed  per- 
sons in  the  tribe.  Even  this  delicate  and  somewhat 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     199 

unusual  affair  in  the  tribe  did  not  ferment  any 
trouble.  The  weaker  submitted  to  the  stronger  and 
harbored  no  ill  feeling,  much  less  revenge.  The 
Eskimo  loves  family  life.  If  he  is  absent  only  for 
a  few  days  on  a  hunting  expedition  and  his  wife, 
for  any  reason,  cannot  accompany  him,  he  takes 
the  wife  of  one  of  his  neighbors  with  him  and  brings 
her  back  at  the  end  of  the  trip,  and  such  acts  do  not 
disrupt  friendship  or  good  feeling. 

"How  many  things,  both  just  and  unjust,  are 
sanctioned  by  custom." — Terrence. 

The  peaceful  disposition  is  one  of  the  most  prom- 
inent virtues  of  the  Eskimo.  Quarrels  and  fights 
are  almost  unknown.  I  never  heard  an  angry  word 
or  saw  an  angry  mien  during  the  whole  time  I  had 
an  opportunity  to  observe  this  interesting  people. 
Troubles  of  some  sort  or  another  will  arise  in  any 
community.  As  there  is  no  such  thing  as  exclusive 
ownership  of  property,  as  marital  relations  are  dealt 
with  so  leniently,  and  rum  plays  no  figure  in  the 
community,  questions  of  serious  dispute  seldom 
arise.  If  they  do,  the  oldest  man  of  the  tribe  acts  as 
judge,  lawyer  and  jury,  and  his  decision  is  always 
respected  and  final,  This  peaceful  disposition  and 
submission  to  custom  are  in  direct  contrast  with 
the  inner  life  of  most  of  the  primitive  races. 

Murder  and  robbery  are  extremely  uncommon. 
A  few  well  authenticated  instances  of  murder,  how- 
ever, have  occurred.  When  Captain  McClintock 
arrived  at  Cape  York,  he  came  face  to  face  with  a 
real  Eskimo  murderer.  "Petersen  pointed  out  to 
me  a  stout  fellow,  with  tolerable  sprinkling  of 


200     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

beard  and  mustache.  This  worthy  perpetrated  the 
only  murder  which  has  taken  place  for  several  years 
in  the  tribe.  He  disliked  his  victim  and  stood  in 
need  of  his  dogs;  therefore,  he  killed  the  owner  and 
appropriated  his  property!  Such  motives  and  pas- 
sions usually  govern  the  unsophisticated  children 
of  nature;  yet,  as  savages,  the  Eskimos  may  be  con- 
sidered exceedingly  harmless."  Peary  relates  a 
case  of  murder  on  Saunder's  Island.  One  of  the 
men  wanted  the  wrife  of  another  and  he  obtained 
her  possession  by  pushing  the  man  off  a  cliff  into  the 
sea  when  they  were  engaged  in  gathering  birds'  eggs. 
The  couple  are  both  alive  and  apparently  happy  at 
the  present  time. 

Infanticide  is,  on  the  contrary,  not  uncom- 
mon. Doctor  Kane  knew  of  a  young  couple,  at  Etah, 
who  buried  their  first  child  alive  in  the  winter  of 
1855.  Even  now,  it  is  customary,  when  a  mother 
dies  with  an  infant  in  her  hood,  to  strangle  the  latter 
after  her  death  and  bury  it  under  the  same  pile  of 
stones  with  the  mother.  The  popular  impression 
still  prevails  that  the  infant  must  accompany  its 
mother  into  the  other  world.  The  war  spirit  has 
never  dominated  this  race.  Years  ago,  when  their 
country  was  invaded  by  Eskimos  from  Baffin's  Land, 
they  made  but  little  resistance,  seeking  safety  in 
flight. 

In  speaking  of  the  Eskimos  living  in  the  Danish 
settlements,  Doctor  Kane  makes  the  statement  that, 
before  the  missionaries  came,  murder,  incest,  burial 
of  the  living,  and  infanticide  were  not  numbered 
among  crimes. 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     201 

SPORTS  AND  AMUSEMENTS 

Every  race  has  its  own  sports  and  amusements 
influenced  by  temperament,  climate,  and  social  con- 
ditions. Athletic  exercises  and  mental  diversion  are 
well  calculated  to  keep  body  and  mind  in  a  health- 
ful, active  condition, 

"Encourage  such  innocent  amusements  as  may 
disembitter  the  minds  of  men  and  make  them 
rejoice  in  the  land  agreeable  satisfaction." 

The  South  Sea  Islanders  have  their  water  sports; 
the  Indians,  lacrosse.  The  Eskimo,  who  does  not 
see  the  sun  from  October  i4th  to  February  i4th, 
is  especially  in  need  of  active  exercise  and  diversion, 
as  the  intense  cold  and  the  absence  of  the  chemical 
actinic,  and  physiological  effects  of  the  magic  rays 
of  the  sun  make  the  arctic  night  very  depressing, 
physically  and  mentally.  Wrestling,  jumping,  track- 
ing by  the  fingers  or  with  locked  arms,  pushing  heel 
to  heel  in  sitting  posture,  dealing  and  receiving  alter- 
nate blows  on  the  left  shoulder,  and  carrying  heavy 
stones  are  among  their  trials  of  strength. 

I  saw  a  number  of  wrestling  matches  and  they 
reminded  me  very  much  of  what  I  saw  of  this  sport 
in  Japan.  Kayaking  is  the  great  national  sport. 
The  art  of  managing  a  kayak  is  acquired  during 
early  childhood  and  the  ambition  of  every  boy  is 
to  master  it  at  an  early  age,  to  excel  his  play- 
mates, and  soon  to  become  a  peer  to  his  father. 
These  aquatic  sports  are  very  exciting,  as  the  kayakers 
test  speed  and  all  kinds  of  rapid  maneuvers,  includ- 
ing jumping  over  the  kayak  of  one  of  the  contest- 


202     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

ants.  The  breaking  in  of  new  dogs  to  sledge  duty 
and  practising  with  the  long  dog-whip  afford  health- 
ful bodily  exercise.  The  light-hearted,  care-free 
Eskimo  ought  to  be  fond  of  play  and  sport.  During 
the  summer  the  warm  sunshine,  the  blue  sky,  the 
frolic  of  myriads  of  sea-fowl  on  water,  cliffs,  and  in 
the  air,  after  the  depression  caused  by  the  long 
winter  night,  ought  to  rouse  his  soul  to  cheerfulness 
and  merriment.  Springtime,  with  its  plentitude  of 
food,  when  he  leaves  the  dark,  icy  igloo  to  enter 
upon  an  out-of-door  life  in  tents,  should  awaken  a 
desire  for  amusement. 

Dancing  is  one  of  the  pastimes  of  all  primitive 
people,  and  the  Eskimo  is  no  exception.  The  dance 
of  the  Smith  Sound  Eskimos  is  the  same  now  as  it 
was  centuries  ago.  It  consists  of  a  swaying  motion 
of  the  body  to  the  tune  of  a  drum  made  of  seal  skin, 
beaten  with  the  fingers,  and  accompanied  by  a  most 
monotonous  chant,  consisting  of  a  constant  repeti- 
tion, of  "Amna  ayah,"  their  song.  The  Eskimos, 
men  and  women,  have  fine  voices,  but  their  low 
degree  of  mentality  has  not  taught  them  how  to  use 
them  properly.  In  the  Danish  settlements,  they 
have  adopted  a  few  of  the  simplest  and  most  common 
European  dances. 

The  children  amuse  themselves  with  crude  play- 
things, figures  cut  out  of  ivory,  bearing  a  faint  re- 
semblance to  some  of  the  animals  which  inhabit 
that  region.  I  was  very  much  astonished  to  find  a 
small  boy  practising  marksmanship  with  a  small 
cross  gun.  The  body  of  the  gun  was  made  of  wood, 
the  bow  of  bone,  and  the  string  of  walrus  hide.  It 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     203 

was  a  mystery  to  me  where  the  idea  came  from,  for 
the  construction  of  this  weapon.  Men  and  women 
are  like  children  and  enjoy  their  simplest  plays  and 
laugh  heartily  on  the  occurrence  of  most  trivial 
incidents.  They  would  enjoy  themselves  immensely 
with  things  that  amuse  and  please  our  little  children. 
But  without  song,  without  dance,  without  music, 
without  sport, 

"The  people,  free  from  cares,  serene  and  gay, 
Pass  all  their  mild,  untroubled  hours  away." 

— Addison. 

The  real  national  feast  takes  place  December 
22d,  every  year,  when  the  natives  dance,  sing,  and 
eat  to  excess.  Another  national  affair  is  the  annual 
meeting  of  the  inhabitants  of  all  settlements  at 
Petravik,  near  Cape  Atholl,  where  the  ice  breaks  up 
first  in  the  spring,  and  where  seal  and  walrus  make 
their  first  appearance.  After  the  hunting  season 
is  over,  the  people  leave  their  ice  igloos  and  in  groups 
of  from  five  to  twenty-five  leave  for  their  summer 
camps. 

EDUCATION 

;  -"Not  to  know  what  happened  before  one  was 

born  is  always  to  be  a  child." — Cicero. 

Nearly  every  primitive  people  have,  at  least,  a 
legend  relating  to  their  origin,  and  some  hero  or 
heroes  who  are  venerated  and  very  often  worshiped. 
The  Eskimos  have  no  history,  either  real  or  legendary. 
Heroes  and  hero-worship  are  unknown  here.  They 
manifest  no  interest  in  the  past  and  care  nothing 
for  the  future.  They  live  in  the  present  and  enjoy 


204     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

themselves  the  best  they  know  how  and  let  the 
to-morrow  take  care  of  itself.  Most  of  them  have 
only  a  definite  idea  of  numbers  up  to  five;  after  that 
everything  is  amashuali  (many).  Others  can  go  as 
far  as  twenty,  the  number  of  fingers  and  toes.  The 
Indian  keeps  track  of  time  by  the  moon;  but  that 
clock  of  the  sky  is  useless  in  Greenland,  as  it  would 
come  to  a  stand  still  during  the  four  months'  reign  of 
the  midnight  sun.  Their  timekeeper  is  the  breaking 
up  of  the  ice  in  the  spring,  to  them  the  greatest 
event  of  the  year,  as  it  opens  the  season  of  best  hunt- 
ing for  walrus  and  seal.  The  book  of  nature  is  their 
only  text-book,  and  they  study,  most  diligently, 
that  part  of  it  which  relates  to  their  subsistence. 

The  Eskimo  knows  all  there,  is  to  be  known  con- 
cerning a  practical  knowledge  of  ice,  the  habits  of  the 
animals  which  serve  him  for  food  and  clothing,  and 
how  to  secure  them  by  the  simplest  methods  of  the 
chase.  The  women  are  very  skilled  in  the  use  of 
the  needle,  using  the  tendon  of  the  narwhal  as  sewing 
material.  The  symmetry  of  the  clothing  for  them- 
selves, men,  and  children  is  admirable.  They  dress 
the  hides  for  clothes,  boots,  kayaks,  and  tents, 
by  chewing  them. 

Experiments  have  been  made  to  educate  them, 
but  with  very  few  exceptions,  they  have  proved  an 
absolute  failure.  During  one  of  the  summer  trips 
to  this  region,  Mrs.  Peary  brought  a  young  Eskimo 
girl  home  with  her.  She  lived  one  year  with  the 
family;  but  all  efforts  to  educate  her  were  fruitless, 
the  only  thing  she  would  do  was  sewing,  which  she 
considered  her  only  legitimate  occupation.  From 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     205 

the  very  beginning,  she  was  homesick,  and  at  the 
end  of  a  year  she  was  glad  to  return  to  her  people. 
I  saw  this  woman  at  North  Star  Bay,  now  living  with 
her  second  husband,  and  the  mother  of  three  chil- 
dren. She  was  the  dirtiest  and  wildest-looking 
woman  of  the  tribe,  but  happy  among  her  own 
people.  Although  she  had  some  knowledge  of  the 
English  language,  she  obstinately  refused  to  speak 
except  in  the  native  tongue.  This  and  similar 
instances  only  go  to  prove  that: 

"Men's  character  and  habits  are  not  influenced 
so  much  by  the  peculiarities  of  family  and  race 
as  by  the  physical  features  of  their  native  land 
and  their  mode  of  life — things  by  which  we  are 
supported  and  by  which  we  live." — Cicero. 

ART 

The  Eskimo  is  not  artistically  inclined,  and  his 
talents  in  this  direction  are  very  limited.  There  is 
much  here  that  should  develop  a  taste  for  the  beau- 
tiful; but  the  Eskimo  is  not  receptive  for  anything 
else  than  what  pertains  to  an  animal  life.  The  sea, 
the  mountains,  the  valleys,  rocks,  and  cliffs,  the 
glaciers,  the  sailing  icebergs,  the  exquisite  little 
flowers,  green  grass,  and  moss,  the  rocks  painted  in 
all  colors  by  minute  color-producing  plants,  the 
myriads  of  birds,  sailing  gracefully  through  the  air, 
the  midnight  sun  in  summer,  the  moon  and  countless 
stars  during  the  long  winter  night,  and  the  firework 
display  of  the  aurora  borealis  are  things  and  exhibits 
which  should  stimulate  and  nourish  the  artistic 
sense;  but  to  all  this  the  sharp  eye  of  the  Eskimo  is 
blind. 


206     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  Japanese  delight  in  their  miniature  flower 
gardens,  potted  flowers,  and  dwarfed  trees;  the 
Polynesian  women  appear  tidy  and  attractive  in 
their  floral  decorations;  the  Indian  women  make 
ornaments  worthy  of  their  race;  but  the  Eskimo 
women  show  no  appreciation,  whatever,  of  the  beau- 
tiful little  flowers  which  ornament  the  tundras, 
rocks,  and  stony  plateaus.  Carving  in  ivory,  repre- 
senting different  animals,  women,  and  children,  for 
children's  toys,  is  about  the  extent  of  art  as  prac- 
tised in  the  high  North.  Drawing  of  maps  showing 
the  coast  line  is  an  accomplishment  of  many  of 
those  who  travel  extensively.  The  kind  of  life  led 
by  the  Eskimos  is  averse  to  art,  as: 

"The  inventions  dictated  by  necessity  are  of  an 
earlier  date  than  those  of  pleasure." — Cicero. 

RELIGION 

"Nature  herself  has  imprinted  on  the  minds 
of  all  the  idea  of  a  God.  For  what  nation  or 
race  of  men  is  there  that  has  not,  even  with- 
out being  taught,  some  idea  of  God." — Cicero. 

The  Eskimos  north  of  the  Danish  settlements 
have  never  been  given  the  benefit  of  religious  in- 
struction, and  have  no  fixed  ideas  concerning  creation 
and  the  existence  of  a  living  God.  "They  believe 
in  a  future  world,  the  employments  and  pleasures 
of  which,  according  to  the  usual  creed  of  savage 
races  are  all  sensual.  Their  idea  of  heaven  is  very 
much  the  same  as  that  of  the  Indians.  The  soul 
descends  beneath  the  earth  into  various  abodes — 
the  first  of  which  partakes  somewhat  the  nature  of 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     207 

a  purgatory;  but  the  good  spirits  passing  through 
it  find  that  the  other  mansions  improve,  till  at  a 
greater  depth  they  reach  that  of  perfect  bliss,  where 
the  sun  never  sets,  and  where  by  the  side  of  large 
lakes,  that  never  freeze,  the  deer  roam  in  large  herds, 
and  the  seal  and  walrus  always  abound  in  the  waters." 
(Parry  and  Lyon.)  They  really  have.no  religion, 
no  idols,  no  worship.  Crude  as  their  ideas  are  on 
this  subject,  they  recognize  the  existence  of  a  good 
and  evil  being.  Their  highest  being,  "Silla"  (air  or 
sky),  is  supposed  to  rule  everything,  and  rewards 
man  according  to  his  actions.  Other  divine  beings 
are  "Mahina"  and  her  brother  "Alminga"  (sun  and 
moon),  who  preside  over  the  seal  hunt. 

The  Eskimos  are  extremely  superstitious  and 
believe  in  the  existence  of  ghosts,  which  manifest 
themselves  in  the  air,  fire,  mountains,  war,  and 
storms.  The  mightiest  of  them  is  the  good  spirit, 
Torngarsuk,  whose  wife  has  the  sea  animals  in  her 
power.  They  do  not  worship  their  deities,  and 
only  observe  one  feast,  the  sun-feast,  the  22nd  of 
December,  when  they  dance,  sing,  and  eat  to  excess. 

Their  superstition  is  engendered  and  nourished 
by  sorcerers  and  fortune-tellers,  called  angakoks. 
Commander  Peary,  who  has  seen  more  of  real  Eskimo 
life  than  any  one  else,  living  or  dead,  informed  me 
that  it  was  one  of  the  most  difficult  things  to  gain 
information  from  the  Eskimos  concerning  their 
spiritual  life.  It  is  probably  exceedingly  difficult 
to  make  them  understand  when  questioned  on  this 
subject  and  they  are  decidedly  averse  to  talking 
about  it.  He  thought  it  would  be  necessary  for  one 


208     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

to  live  among  them  for  at  least  six  years  before  he 
could  speak  authoritatively  on  this  subject.  If  any- 
thing contrary  to  the  wish  or  expectations  of  the 
Eskimo  happens,  he  attributes  it  to  an  evil  spirit 
which,  I  was  told,  they  imagine  in  the  form  of  a 
hideous  being.  He  sharpens  his  knives  and  goes 
out  to  find  and  kill  the  monster.  Superstition  is  as 
strong  among  these  people  as  in  all  other  primitive 
races,  and  from  which  many  nations,  which  for 
centuries  have  lived  in  the  light  of  civilization, 
cannot  be  excluded  as: 

"Custom  is  almost  a  second  nature." — Plutarch. 

Among  the  savages,  it  is  only  natural  that  want 
and  afflictions  of  all  kinds  should  be  attributed  to 
some  unseen  mysterious  evil  being,  whatever  that 
may  be  called;  and  on  the  other  hand,  the  spark  of 
religion,  instilled  in  every  soul,  causes  man  to  believe 
in  a  supreme  being  who  has  the  power  to  ward  off 
misfortunes  of  all  kinds  and  bring  success,  peace, 
and  happiness.  It  is  in  days  of  darkness,  misfor- 
tune, and  disappointment  that  the  soul  takes  flight 
to  a  supreme  being  and  prays  for  his  favor.  This 
is  not  only  true  of  the  pagan,  but  also  of  the  pro- 
fessed Christian  for: 

"When  we  are  in  misery,  there  springs  up  a 
reverence  of  the  gods;  the  prosperous  seldom 
approach  the  altar." 

For  want  of  a  knowledge  of  a  living,  merciful 
Almighty  God,  the  Eskimo,  when  in  distress,  turns 
to  the  spirit  of  his  father.  This  is  done  in  the  form 
of  a  wailing,  a  monotonous,  improvised  chant,  led 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     209 

by  the  angakok,  and  in  which  all  join  the  chorus. 
They  have  no  priests,  no  temples,  no  altars,  no  one 
to  lead  a  regular  worship.  The  prayer  is  the*spon- 
taneous  outburst  of  the  afflicted,  distressed  souls. 
The  dark,  icy  igloo  or  the  tent,  devoid  of  everything 
that  would  remind  one  of  a  sacred  service,  is  the 
meeting-place  and  the  non-meaning  words  that  are 
repeated  over  and  over  again  are  used  to  express  the 
anguish  of  a  soul  that  seeks  superhuman  help  when 
man's  efforts  have  proved  inadequate  or  have  utterly 
failed. 

BURIAL  OF  THE  DEAD 

The  Greenland  coast  of  Smith  Sound  is  made  up 
of  solid  rock,  with  here  and  there  a  thin  layer  of 
soil,  barely  enough  to  nourish  the  scanty  vegeta- 
tion, and  nowhere  deep  enough  to  dig  a  grave. 
Above-ground  burial  is,  therefore,  not  a  matter  of 
choice,  but  of  necessity.  The  Eskimo  graves  are 
made  up  of  a  pile  of  stones,  under  which  rest  the* 
remains,  and,  under  it  and  around  it,  the  belongings 
of  the  deceased.  Peary  gives  a  good  description  of 
the  method  of  burial.  "The  body,  fully  dressed, 
is  laid  on  its  back  on  a  skin,  and  some  extra  articles 
of  clothing  placed  upon  it.  It  is  then  covered  in 
with  a  low  stone  structure,  to  protect  the  body 
against  the  wild  animals.  A  lamp,  with  some  blub- 
ber, is  placed  close  to  the  grave.  If  deceased  has 
any  personal  property,  such  as  weapons,  kayaks, 
etc.,  they  are  also  placed  close  by,  and  his  favorite 
dogs,  harnessed  and  attached  to  the  sledge,  are 
strangled  to  accompany  him  into  a  new  land  of  hunt- 

14 


210     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

ing.  If  it  is  a  woman,  her  cooking  utensils  and 
frame  on  which  she  has  dried  the  family  boots  and 
mittens  are  placed  beside  the  grave.  If  she  had  a 
dog  it  is  strangled  to  accompany  her;  and  if  she  had 
a  baby  in  the  hood  it,  too,  must  die  with  her." 

"If  the  death  occurred  in  a  tent,  the  poles  are  re- 
moved, allowing  it  to  settle  down  over  the  site,  and 
it  is  never  used  again.  If  death  occurred  in  an  igloo, 
it  is  vacated  and  not  used  again  for  a  long  time." 
No  ceremonies  take  place  during  the  burial.  The 
Eskimos  appear  to  have  little  reverence  for  the 
places  of  the  dead.  I  saw  a  number  of  graves,  and 
in  several  of  them  found  the  bones  exposed,  the 
cover  of  stones  being  entirely  inadequate. 

It  is  related  that  if  a  man  dies,  his  wife  isolates 
herself  in  her  tent  or  igloo  for  a  number  of  days, 
sitting  statue-like,  her  eyes  fixed  on  the  wall  oppo- 
site her. 

Doctor  Kane  speaks  of  weeping  for  the  dead. 
"They  weep  according  to  an  established  custom, 
when  one  begins,  all  are  expected  to  join,  and  it  is 
the  office  of  courtesy  for  the  most  distinguished  of 
the  company  to  wipe  the  eyes  of  the  chief  mourner. 
Failure  of  a  hunt  may  bring  about  such  a  weeping 

match."  _  T 

ESKIMO  LIFE 

Living  in  a  stern  climate  with  almost  half  of  the 
year  surrounded  by  darkness,  the  Eskimo  has  pre- 
served his  inborn  cheerfulness  and  enjoys  life  better 
than  most  people  who  inhabit  more  favored  coun- 
tries. Although  he  has  lived  in  this  land  of  per- 
petual ice  and  snow  for  unknown  centuries,  in  almost 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     211 

complete  isolation,  he  retains  many  of  the  physical 
characteristics  of  his  ancient  Asiatic  origin.  The 
intense  cold,  absence  of  sunshine  six  months 
out  of  the  year,  the  ever-present  ice  and  snow  have 
somewhat  bleached  the  skin,  but  have  not  succeeded 
as  in  some  of  the  arctic  animals,  in  changing  the 
color  of  the  hair  from  black  to  white.  The  luxuriant 
jet-black  hair  is  the  same  as  when  these  people  left 
their  homes  in  Asia  and  sought  safety  and  freedom 
in  their  flight  eastward.  The  color  of  the  iris,  in- 
variably a  soft  brown,  has  undoubtedly  been  acquired 
here  in  the  course  of  centuries. 

For  an  unknown  period  of  time,  undoubtedly 
including  the  gradual  transition  of  a  sub-tropic  into 
an  arctic  climate,  these  people  have  lived  in  a  severe 
climate,  where: 

"Instead  of  golden  fruits 
By  genial  show'rs  and  solar  heat  supplied, 
Unsufferable  winter  hath  defaced 
Earth's  blooming  charms  and  made  a  barren 
waste."  — Blackmore. 

Ever  since  the  ocean  of  ice  destroyed  the  natural 
fruit  gardens  of  the  once  sub-tropic  country,  its  in- 
habitants have  lived  exclusively  on  animal  food, — 
and  nature  has  supplied  them  with  the  kind  of  food 
best  adapted  for  their  climate.  The  blubber  of  the 
whale,  walrus,  seal,  and  narwhal  is  their  staple  arti- 
cle of  food,  furnishing  the  system  with  fuel,  which 
enables  it  to  battle  successfully  with  the  intense 
cold  during  the  long  sunless  winter. 

The  clothing  of  the  Eskimos  has  undergone  a 
gradual  evolution  and  a  long  experience  has  made 


212     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

it  perfect.  Although  not  attractive,  and  emitting 
an  odor  very  offensive  to  one  who  comes  in  con- 
tact with  their  wearers  for  the  first  time,  it  meets 
all  the  indications  exacted  by  this  climate — warmth 
and  ventilation.  Nature  supplies  the  fur-bearing 
animals  of  this  region  with  a  skin  and  its  appendages 
best  calculated  to  resist,  to  a  maximum  degree,  the 
effects  of  intense  cold.  The  fur  of  the  polar  bear, 
with  the  hair  outside,  is  an  admirable  protection 
against  cold,  and,  as  snow  and  ice  do  not  cling  to 
the  hair,  it  is,  therefore,  chiefly  used  in  making 
trousers  for  men  and  boys, — shirts,  trousers,  or 
loin  pieces  for  women  and  girls, — and  in  making 
a  fringe  for  the  collar  and  sleeves  of  the  jackets  for 
both  sexes.  Sealskin  jackets  (kooletah)  are  generally 
worn  during  the  summer;  reindeer  and  fox  skins 
during  winter.  The  hood  is  an  essential  part  of 
the  jacket,  and  a  perfect  protection  for  head,  neck 
and  face.  The  fur  of  the  blue  fox  and  reindeer  skins 
are  the  warmest,  and  are  made  into  winter  jackets. 
Cured  bird  skins  are  much  in  use  for  underclothing. 
The  double  boots  (kamik),  made  of  sealskin, 
are  worn  long  by  women,  short  by  men.  The  skin 
of  the  outer  pair  is  deprived  of  hair  by  scraping,  the 
inner  pair  is  worn  with  the  hair  on  the  inside,  and  the 
space  between  the  two  soles  is  packed  with  dried 
grass.  No  other  kind  of  footwear  is  as  warm  and 
as  comfortable  as  these  Eskimo  boots,  cut  and  sewed 
so  admirably  by  the  women,  who  use  the  fine  dried 
tendon  of  the  narwhal,  exclusively,  for  this  purpose. 
These  boots  are  not  only  warm  and  comfortable, 
but  also  absolutely  water-tight. 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     213 

The  sleeves  of  the  jacket  are  wide,  so  that  the 
wearer  can  easily  withdraw  the  arms  from  them, 
and  by  crossing  them  over  the  chest  under  the  gar- 
ments they  receive  the  benefit  of  the  body  heat. 
The  fur  mittens  are  always  in  evidence,  even  during 
the  warmest  days  in  summer,  a  fact  which  may 
account  for  the  smoothness  and  delicacy  of  hands 
and  fingers  in  both  sexes.  Sox  made  of  the  skins 
of  the  arctic  hare  are  often  worn  as  an  additional 
protection  for  the  feet.  From  a  hygienic  standpoint 
the  greatest  merit  of  the  Eskimo  dress  consists  in 
the  ample  provisions  which  have  been  made  for  free 
ventilation.  The  collar  of  the  jacket  is  wide;  the 
jacket  only  slightly  overlaps  the  trousers,  and  the 
trousers,  the  boots,  thus  securing  in  these  places 
free,  thorough  ventilation.  In  a  bending  position, 
both  in  men  and  women,  the  body  is  freely  exposed 
between  jacket  and  trousers,  permitting  the  air  to 
enter  and  escape  freely.  This  free  ventilation  pre- 
vents the  accumulation  of  moisture  within  the 
clothing,  an  exceedingly  important  matter  in  the 
make-up  of  clothing  in  an  arctic  climate.  Peary 
and  other  arctic  explorers  have  found  the  Eskimo 
clothing  the  only  one  that  meets  the  exacting  re- 
quirements of  that  climate  during  the  winter.  With 
all  their  intelligence,  ingenuity,  study,  and  experi- 
ence, they  have  been  unable  to  make  any  improve- 
ments on  what  the  Eskimo  women  have  devised 
and  made  as  the  result  of  centuries  of  experience. 

In  their  manner  of  living,  they  have  instinctively 
obeyed  the  laws  of  nature  in  clothing  and  food,  and 
unconsciously  adapted  themselves  to  their  environ- 


2i4     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

ments.  Food  and  clothing  remain  the  same  as  they 
have  been  since  they  have  lived  here  under  present 
conditions.  Without  knowing  it,  they  have  demon- 
strated by  their  conduct  that 

"Wisdom  consists  in  not  wandering  from  the 
nature  of  things,  and  in  conforming  ourselves 
according  to  her  law  and  example." — Seneca. 

The  absence  of  any  other  fuel  but  blubber  and 
oil  makes  it  necessary  to  eat  most  of  the  animal  food 
raw.  Vegetables  of  any  kind  have  been  denied  them 
and  yet  scurvy  has  spared  them,  as  this  disease,  the 
terror  of  the  early  arctic  explorers  is  unknown  among 
them.  The  raw  meat  and  the  abundance  of  fat  in 
their  diet  could  only  explain  their  immunity  to  this 
dread  disease.  The  sailors  of  many  former  expedi- 
tions often  lacked  fresh  meat,  and  it  was  then 
that  they  contracted  scurvy.  Doctor  Kane  under- 
stood, fully,  this  cause  of  scurvy  and  was  convinced 
that  fresh  meat  was  the  best  prophylactic  when  he 
said:  "Our  own  sickness  (scurvy)  I  attribute  to 
our  civilized  diet;  had  we  plenty  of  frozen  walrus, 
I  would  laugh  at  the  scurvy." 

How  easily  white  men  can  become  accustomed 
tcr relish  raw  meat  is  shown  by  the  same  authority: 
"The  liver  of  a  walrus  (awick  tanuk')  eaten  with 
little  slices  of  his  fat, — of  a  verity,  it  is  a  delicious 
morsel.  Fire  would  ruin  the  curt,  pithy  expression  of 
vitality  which  belongs  to  its  uncooked  juices. 
Charles  Lamb's  roast  pig  was  nothing  to  awatuk." 

We  know  how  Nansen  enjoyed  his  blood  pudding 
and  Captain  Bartlett  of  the  "Roosevelt"  could  sub- 
sist a  long  time  on  the  fresh  blood  of  the  seal,  which 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     215 

he  can  drink  with  a  relish.  We,  who  are  accus- 
tomed to  a  mixed  diet  and  cooked  animal  food, 
would  neither  enjoy  nor  thrive  on  the  ill-smelling 
blubber,  fresh  blood,  and  raw  meat,  which  only  goes 
to  establish  the  truth  of: 

"What  is  food  for  one  man  may  be  fierce  poison 
to  others. ' ' — Lucretius. 

I  could  eat  raw  whale  meat,  but  when  cooked  it  was 
turned  into  a  hard,  black  chip,  neither  palatable 
nor  nutritious. 

The  tough  skin  of  the  narwhal  is  considered  a 
delicacy  by  the  Smith  Sound  Eskimos,  and  as  a  spe- 
cific against  scurvy  by  the  Eskimos  of  the  Danish 
settlements.  I  found  it  not  at  all  unpalatable,  but 
it  required  vigorous  chewing  to  prepare  it  properly 
for  the  act  of  swallowing. 

I  have  not  seen  among  the  Eskimos  any 
indications  of  rickets,  recent  or  ancient.  The 
mothers  nurse  their  infants  until  they  are  two  and 
more  years  old,  unless  the  milk  supply  is  interrupted, 
as  it  is  occasionally  by  another  pregnancy.  When 
the  babe  is  three  months  old,  long  before  the  period 
of  teething,  they  are  given  small  pieces  of  raw  blub- 
ber which  they  greedily  swallow  whole,  as  we  do 
oysters.  All  of  the  numerous  children  I  saw  were 
in  excellent  health,  and  infantile  mortality,  accord- 
ing to  accounts  I  was  able  to  obtain,  is  much  less 
than  in  civilized  countries.  The  child  lives  during 
the  day  in  the  hood  of  its  mother.  In  the  evening, 
young  and  old  strip  to  the  skin  and  then  retire  to 
the  common  family  bed,  with  the  children  packed 
in  between  the  adults.  This  custom  of  undressing 


216     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

before  retiring  is  a  very  important  hygienic  measure, 
as  the  clothes,  which  are  never  cleaned  nor  washed, 
and  dampened  by  perspiration  during  the  day, 
are  thoroughly  ventilated  and  dried  during  the 
hours  of  sleep;  besides,  the  different  members  of  the 
family  receive  the  benefits  of  the  body  heat  of  all. 
The  Eskimo  women  are  not  prolific.  I  never  saw 
more  than  four  or  five  children  in  one  family,  and 
the  average  is  less.  It  is  a  well-known  fact  that, 
during  the  first  three  years  after  mating,  few  chil- 
dren are  born.  Young  couples  frequently  change 
mates  in  the  first  year  or  two  till  both  are  suited, 
when  the  union  is  practically  permanent,  except  for 
temporary  periods,  during  which  an  exchange  may 
be  effected  with  another  man,  or  the  wife  loaned 
to  a  friend. 

While  the  sexual  passions  are  strong,  there  is 
probably  less  jealousy  here  than  in  any  other  part 
of  the  world.  To  the  credit  of  these  people,  it  must 
be  said  that,  while  morals  do  not  exist,  they  are  free 
from  any  depraved  appetites  or  habits.  They  do  not 
disfigure  their  bodies  in  any  way.  They  are  without 
medicines,  either  for  external  or  internal  use,  their 
angakoks  or  medicine  men  make  no  pretension  to 
cure  disease  by  the  employment  of  medicines  of  any 
kind.  They  are  the  sorcerers  and  resort  to  incanta- 
tions when  called  upon  to  visit  the  sick.  The  Es- 
kimos of  this  part  of  Greenland  are  a  remarkably 
healthy  people.  They  are  plump  and  well  nourished, 
with  ruddy  cheeks  and  smooth,  healthy  skin.  The 
subcutaneous  fatty  tissue  is  abundant,  constituting 
an  excellent  protection  against  the  severe  cold. 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     217 

The  Eskimos  are  almost  exempt  from  the  numer- 
ous chronic,  degenerative  diseases,  such  as  Bright's 
disease,  tuberculosis,  cirrhosis  of  the  liver,  apoplexy, 
diabetes,  etc.,  which  cut  so  many  lives  short  among 
civilized  nations.  Their  most  common  diseases  are 
rheumatism  and  bronchial  affections.  The  causes 
of  death  among  men  come  largely  under  the  terse 
western  expression,  "with  their  boots  on."  Every 
year  claims  some  deaths  among  the  hunters.  Star- 
vation has  been  a  fruitful  cause  of  death  in  the  past. 
Two  epidemics  during  the  last  ten  years,  one  of 
arctic  dysentery  and  the  other  of  lagrippe,  have 
claimed  a  considerable  mortality. 

The  Eskimo  has  no  fixed  time  for  eating  or  sleep- 
ing; he  eats  and  sleeps  when  he  feels  like  it,  imita- 
ting to  perfection  in  these  respects  the  life  of  the  lower 
animals.  Each  member  of  the  family  eats  when 
hungry,  and  if  the  food  supply  warrants  it,  eats  and 
eats  until  he  can  eat  no  more,  and,  when  hunger  is 
appeased,  lies  down  and  sleeps  like  the  satiated  cow 
in  the  green  pasture.  The  Eskimo  does  not  subject 
himself  to  the  teaching  of  the  proverb: 

"Thou  should' st  eat  to  live;  not  live  to  eat." 
— Cicero. 

Their  indulgence  in  gorging  themselves  with 
their  plain  food,  however,  does  not  result  as  disas- 
trously as  in  the  case  of  over-eating  and  intemper- 
ance in  civilized  countries.  The  men  who  enjoy 
the  luxuries  of  their  table,  and  the  frequenters 
of  many  banquets,  pay  dearly  for  their  so-called 
pleasures,  as  indulgences  of  this  kind  never  fail  to 
undermine  their  health  and  in  cutting  life  short  by 


>i8     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

Bright 's     disease,     diabetes,     apoplexy,     and    other 
degenerative  diseases  of  civilization. 

The  old  time-honored  saying  remains  true: 

"The  only  way  for  a  rich  man  to  be  healthy      ^ 
is,  by  exercise  and  abstinence,  to  live  as  he  were 
poor." — Temple. 

A  long  experience  has  taught  the  Eskimo  to  build 
his  winter  home  in  a  way  to  make  it  most  effective 
in  excluding  the  intense  cold.  All  of  the  igloos 
(winter  huts)  are  built  on  the  same  plan.  The 
igloo,  made  of  stone  or  blocks  of  ice,  is  from  nine  to 
fourteen  feet  long  and  not  quite  as  wide.  The  en- 
trance is  a  long,  narrow  tunnel,  which  opens  into 
the  common  room,  barely  high  enough  for  an  adult 
to  stand  erect.  In  the  rear  of  the  room  is  a  raised 
platform  for  the  common  family  bed,  and  the  balance 
of  the  space  serves  as  sitting  room,  dining  room, 
kitchen,  etc.  On  each  side  of  the  entrance  are 
storehouses  for  the  meat.  A  single  small  window 
over  the  entrance,  made  of  seal  intestines,  admits  a 
dim  light  and  answers  the  purpose  of  a  ventilator. 

Where  the  depth  of  the  soil  admits  of  excavation, 
a  part  of  the  dwelling  is  under  ground.  The  span- 
ning roof  is  built  on  cantilever  principle.  It  is  made 
of  flat  stones  and  is  as  firm  and  unyielding  as  a 
masonry  arch.  The  tunnel  entrance  is  never  closed; 
yet  no  draught  or  current  disturbs  the  interior. 
Turf  and  snow  are  used  on  the  outside  as  additional 
protection  against  wind  and  cold.  These  igloos  are 
occupied  from  the  latter  part  of  September  till  April 
or  May,  when  their  interior  becomes  very  damp  and 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     219 

they  are  abandoned  for  the  summer,  which  is  spent 
in  tents.  The  window  and  a  part  of  the  roof  are  re- 
moved during  the  summer  to  admit  sunlight  and 
wind,  a  very  wise  sanitary  precaution.  There  is  no 
ownership  of  igloos  beyond  the  period  of  actual 
occupation.  Seldom  a  family  lives  in  one  place  for 
two  consecutive  years. 

The  building  of  an  igloo  does  not  take  much 
time  nor  require  much  labor  and,  after  a  winter's 
occupation,  becomes  so  filthy  that  it  is  often  easier 
to  build  a  new  one  than  to  clean  out  the  old.  The 
tenting  place  is  always  selected  in  a  location  more 
or  less  distant  from  the  winter  quarters.  The  num- 
ber of  igloos  or  tents  of  a  settlement  seldom  exceeds 
five,  which  usually  means  a  population  of  about 
twenty-five  persons,  with  one  or  two  hunters  for 
each  home.  This  moving  about  from  place  to  place 
is  a  sanitary  precaution  against  establishing  foci  of 
disease,  and  is  regarded  and  practised  as  such  by 
the  Eskimos,  as  the}'  have  found  by  long  experience 
that  living  in  the  same  igloo  year  after  year  is  at- 
tended by  danger  to  health. 

The  lack  of  morals  among  Eskimos  is  undoubtedly 
largely  due  to  the  promiscuous  living  together  in 
such  close  quarters.  They  eat,  live,  sleep,  and  mate 
like  animals.  Their  greatest  fault  is  their  indes- 
cribable filthiness.  The  accumulation  of  dirt  on 
the  oily  skin  and  in  the  unwashed,  uncleaned  cloth- 
ing engenders  a  stench  which  is  everywhere  the 
same;  a  stench  sui  generis',  a  stench  to  which  a  white 
man  cannot  become  habituated  for  a  long  time.  If 
the  wind  is  in  the  right  direction,  a  single  person  can 


220     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

be  scented  many  feet  away,  and  when  a  crowd  of 
them  have  gathered,  as  was  the  case  on  the  "Erik," 
the  stench  becomes  almost  unbearable.  It  is  very 
likely  that  this  absolute  neglect  of  ordinary  cleanli- 
ness may  be  a  prophylactic  measure  against  disease 
in  this  climate,  as 

"People  who  are  always  taking  care  of  their 
health  are  like  misers  who  are  hoarding  a 
treasure  which  they  have  never  spirit  enough 
to  enjoy." — Sterne. 

The  smell  which  is  so  obnoxious  to  us,  they  do 
not  perceive,  or,  perhaps,  in  the  course  of  time  it 
has  become  to  them  an  agreeable  perfume. 

Lying  is  one  of  the  prominent  failings  of  the 
Eskimos,  and  is  as  deeply  rooted  among  them  as 
among  other  races  having  a  yellow  or  a  black  skin. 
On  the  other  hand,  they  possess  many  excellent, 
inborn  qualities.  Although  brought  up  in  an  atmos- 
phere of  a  purely  socialistic  life,  where  everything 
is  in  common  except  clothing,  traveling  equip- 
ments, weapons,  implements,  and  a  tent,  the  Eskimo 
is  perfectly  honest  in  his  dealings  with  his  fellow 
men  and  the  few  visitors  with  whom  he  is  brought 
in  contact.  He  does  not  steal.  He  respects  the 
property  of  strangers,  and,  when  he  borrows  any- 
thing, he  is  sure  to  return  it  at  the  expected  time. 

Although  proud  of  his  origin  and  associations, 
the  Eskimo  lacks  the  haughtiness  of  the  Indian. 
He  is  humble  and  resigned  and 

"Humility    and    resignation    are    our    prime 
virtues." — Dry  den. 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     221 

He  is  good-natured  and  friendly,  wearing  a  pleas- 
ing smile  on  his  swarthy,  copper- tinted  face,  and 
fond  of  talking,  but  not  at  all  demonstrative.  Al- 
though these  people  usually  meet  once  a  year  and 
know  each  other  well,  being  in  reality  a  large  family 
rather  than  a  tribe,  I  have  never  seen  anything  like 
an  affectionate  meeting  or  parting.  One  day  a 
woman  came  on  board  with  an  infant  in  her  hood,  and, 
as  she  scrambled  over  the  gunwale,  she  stood  face 
to  face  with  another  Eskimo  woman  about  the 
same  age  and  similarly  encumbered.  As  they 
must  have  been  acquaintances  and  friends,  I  watched 
them  very  closely  to  see  how  they  would  receive  each 
other.  Neither  of  them  changed  a  single  line  of  her 
face.  They  stood  like  statues  and  looked  at  each 
other  stolidly  for  some  time,  when  finally  one  of  them 
addressed  herself  to  the  infant  of  the  other,  smiled, 
said  a  few  kind  words  and  rubbed  the  chin  of  the 
little  one.  This  opened  the  flood-gate  of  conversa- 
tion. They  retired  to  a  quiet  place  on  the  deck  and 
spent  the  balance  of  the  day  in  chatting  over  their 
experiences  since  they  had  last  met.  Commander 
Peary  related  to  me  even  a  more  striking  example 
of  the  undemonstrative  nature  of  these  children  of 
the  North.  When  the  Eskimo  girl  who  had  spent 
a  year  with  his  iamily  returned,  the  Commander 
was  at  Bowdoin  Bay.  Word  was  sent  that  the 
steamer,  having  the  girl  on  board,  was  near-by, 
but,  on  account  of  ice,  had  some  difficulty  in  reach- 
ing Peary's  headquarters.  The  father  of  the  girl, 
with  a  number  of  Peary's  men,  hastened  to  meet  the 
incoming  steamer.  When  they  boarded  the  vessel 


222     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

the  girl  was  asleep  in  the  forecastle.  She  was 
awakened  and  informed  that  her  father  had  arrived 
and  was  anxious  to  meet  her.  She  went  to  sleep 
again  and  had  to  be  awakened  a  second  time.  When 
she  met  her  father  there  was  not  the  slightest  sign 
of  emotion  on  either  side,  but  after  they  had  retired, 
the  girl's  tongue  was  unloosened  and  was  kept  busy 
relating  all  she  had  seen  during  her  absence.  The 
only  word  of  greeting  in  the  Eskimo  language  is 
chimo  or,  as  Doctor  Kane  writes  it,  timo.  It  is  their 
only  word  for  welcome.  They  have  no  words  which 
correspond  with  our  "good  morning,"  "good  evening," 
or  "good-by."  Kunyanaka  is  their  word  for  "I 
thank  you,"  seldom  made  use  of  and  which  I  never 
heard,  although  I  thought  I  had  given  them  ample 
opportunities  to  let  me  hear  it. 

One  of  the  most  beautiful  traits  of  the  character 
of  the  Eskimos  is  their  unbounded  hospitality. 
Their  igloos  and  tents  (tupicks)  are  always  open  to 
their  countrymen  and  strangers;  and,  while  there, 
they  are  treated  like  members  of  the  family.  This 
hospitality  is  genuine  and  not  feigned  or  for  per- 
sonal gain,  as  is  only  too  often  the  case  in  civilized 
communities  and  more  especially  so  in  our  higher 
so-called  aristocratic  circles. 

We  are  too  anxious  to  cultivate  only  the  good- 
will and  friendship  of  the  prosperous. 

"Whilst  you  are  prosperous,  you  can  number 
many  friends;  but  when  the  storm  conies,  you 
are  left  alone." — Ovid. 

Not  so  with  the  Eskimos.  They  practice  what 
they  have  not  been  taught — beneficence,  and 


/AT  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     223 

"A  beneficent  person  is  like  a  fountain,  water- 
ing the  earth  and  spreading  fertility;  it  is, 
therefore,  more  delightful  and  more  honorable 
to  give  than  receive." — Epicurus. 

The  Eskimos  are  very  fond  of  their  children. 
The  children  get  their  good  share  of  the  best  things 
that  are  to  be  had  and  are  furnished  with  playthings 
to  amuse  themselves.  At  an  early  age  the  children 
are  taught  what  they  are  expected  to  do  when  they 
reach  maturity.  The  boys  are  trained  in  hunting, 
kayaking,  dog  driving,  and  must  learn  how  to  build 
a  kayak  and  an  igloo.  The  girls  are  taught  sewing, 
dressing  of  skins,  and  cooking,  such  as  it  is  among  the 
Eskimos.  In  other  words  they  give  all  their  chil- 
dren a  practical  education  which  enables  them,  at 
an  early  age,  to  obtain,  by  their  own  efforts,  the 
necessities  of  life.  They  are  kind  to  the  aged  and 
the  infirm.  Old  age  is  respected  and  it  is  the  oldest 
man  in  a  settlement  who  is  appealed  to  for  advice 
and  whose  counsel  is  sought  when  differences  of 
opinion  or  questions  of  right  and  wrong  disturb  the 
usual  peaceful  atmosphere  of  the  camp. 

These  people,  the  only  real  Eskimos  left  in  the 
world,  have  never  had  a  ruler  of  any  kind,  nor  any 
fixed  laws.  They  have  always  ruled  themselves,  and 

"The  voice  of  the  people  is  the  voice  of  God." 

They  live  in  a  part  of  the  world  where  equality 
and  liberty  reign  supreme  and 

"What  is  so  much  beloved  by  the  people  as 
liberty,  which  you  see  not  only  to  be  sought 
after  by  men,  but  also  by  beasts,  and  to  be 
preferred  to  all  things." — Cicero. 


224     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  slight  touch  with  the  whites,  which  the 
Smith  Sound  Eskimos  have  experienced,  has  not  im- 
proved their  condition.  They  have  learned  from 
the  whites  more  of  their  vices  than  their  virtues.  A 
few  years  ago  the  taste  of  tobacco  was  not  known 
to  them;  now  they  crave  for  the  weed.  I  have  seen 
children  in  their  mother's  hood  smoke  the  pipe  as 
it  was  passed  from  one  member  of  the  family  to  the 
other.  Sailors  have  brought  them  diseases  which, 
in  the  course  of  time,  will  exterminate  this  small 
remnant  of  a  noble  race.  I  had  no  difficulty  in  find- 
ing evidences  of  transmission  from  parents  to  off- 
spring of  loathsome  diseases  for  which  the  whites 
are  responsible ;  a  fact  which  confirms  only  too  plainly 
the  prophecy  in  the  scriptures: 

"Visiting  the  iniquity  of  the  fathers  upon  the 
children,  and  upon  the  children's  children,  unto 
the  third  and  to  the  fourth  generation." — 
Exodus  XXXIV,  7. 

What  a  pity  that  these  innocent,  childlike  people 
should  be  made  to  suffer  in  consequence  of  the  lust 
of  civilized  men  who  were  benefited  by  their  aid 
and  hospitality!  But  such  is  the  fate  of  all  primi- 
tive races  when  brought  under  the  dominating 
influence  of  the  whites,  and  their  offspring  are  made 
to  experience,  sooner  or  later,  that 

"Posterity  pay  for  the  sin  of  their  fathers." — 
Quintus  Curtius  Rufus. 

A  few  years  ago,  when  one  of  these  Eskimos  was 
given  a  drink  of  liquor,  he  would  spit  it  out  as  some- 
thing obnoxious  to  his  palate.  Today,  after  a  longer 
experience  with  foreigners,  he  has  developed,  like 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     225 

the  Indian ,  a'strong  desire  for  rum.  Should  opportunity 
offer,  drunkenness  will  soon  creep  in  as  another 
curse  brought  to  them  by  the  whites.  The  Eskimo, 
when  he  once  has  acquired  a  taste  for  liquor,  will 
lose  control  over  his  reason  and  will  go  beyond 
the  limits  of  temperance  in  obedience  to  his 
cravings,  as 

"Temperance  is  the  moderating  of  one's  de- 
sires in  obedience  to  reason." — Cicero. 
and 

"Things  forbidden  alone  are  loved  immoder- 
ately, when  they  may  be  enjoyed,  they  do  not 
excite  the  desire."— Quintilianus. 

The  native  dress  is  the  only  one  adapted  for  the 
climate,  but  the  desire  of  the  savage  to  imitate  the 
whites  in  dress  is  becoming  manifest  even  here. 
Caps  and  undershirts  are  the  articles  of  civilized 
dress  most  eagerly  sought  for  and  which,  have  been 
acquired  in  barter  for  ivory  and  fur.  That  the 
white  man  is  not  always  honest  in  such  dealings, 
our  Indians  know,  only  too  well,  from  sad  experience. 
These  simple,  confiding,  ignorant  people  have  no 
idea  of  the  value  of  what  they  have  to  exchange, 
and  much  less  of  what  they  receive  in  exchange; 
hence,  the  bargain  will  always  be  in  favor  of  the  one 
who  knows.  A  sailor  said,  boastingly,  to  me  that 
for  a  broken,  useless  oar  he  received  forty  pounds  of 
ivory,  which  has  a  ready  sale  at  a  dollar  per  pound. 
The  shrewd  traders  do  not  carry  into  practice  the 
rule  that 

"Everything    should   be    disclosed,    that    the 

buyer  may  be  ignorant  of  nothing  which  the 

seller   knows." — Cicero. 
15 


226     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  firearms  which  have  been  given  to  the  Es- 
kimos for  service,  or  in  exchange,  have  done  these 
people,  on  the  whole,  more  harm  than  good.  They 
have  made  the  killing  of  game  easier  and  the  young 
men  are  losing  the  art  of  primitive  hunting,  and  the 
old  hunters,  inclined  to  laziness  as  they  are,  prefer 
to  secure  the  game  in  the  easiest  possible  manner 
and  in  the  shortest  space  of  time.  The  supply  of 
ammunition  is  uncertain,  and  when  it  gives  out,  as 
is  only  too  often  the  case,  the  former  kind  of  hunting 
becomes  more  onerous  than  in  former  years.  Powder 
as  an  article  of  exchange  is  in  high  estimation,  higher 
than  anything  else,  and  it  is  with  this  article  of 
barter  that  the  best  kind  of  bargains  can  be  made. 
Then,  too,  the  natives  have  not,  as  yet,  learned  to 
•handle  firearms  with  the  necessary  care,  and  acci- 
dents from  their  careless  use  are  by  no  means  rare. 
These  simple,  unsuspecting  people  have  not  yet 
learned  to  mistrust  the  foreigners,  and,  when  they 
do,  it  will  be  too  late  to  remedy  the  evils  of  the  past. 

They  are  not  demonstrative  or  sentimental, 
even  under  the  most  trying  ordeals.  Smiling 
and  laughing  is  their  nature;  weeping  is  of  rare 
occurrence,  even  when  the  shadows  of  death  visit 
their  humble  home.  Sufferings  are  soon  forgotten 
and  mourning  for  the  dead  is  of  short  duration. 
The  widow  or  widower  mates  again  as  soon  as  an 
opportunity  offers,  and  sorrows  are  laid  aside  and 
give  place  to  the  routine  duties  of  a  life  free  from 
care. 

The  Smith  Sound  Eskimos  appear  to  be  deeply 
conscious  of  the  fact  that 


A    CIVILIZED    BAFFIN    LAND    ESKIMO 


77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     227 

"To  be  free  minded  and  cheerfully  disposed, 
at  hours  of  meat,  sleep,  and  exercise,  is  one  of 
the  best  precepts  of  long  lasting." — Bacon. 

Indolence  and  shiftlessness  are  conspicuous  char- 
acteristics of  the  Eskimos.  They  have  no  ambition 
either  for  wealth  or  fame.  They  furnish  a  striking 
example  of  the  truth  that 

"The  desire  for  leisure  is  much  more  natural 
than  of  business  and  care." — Temple. 

Avarice  and  luxury,  the  two  great  curses  of 
civilization,  are  unknown  vices  to  these  children  of 
nature,  and  Cicero's  advice  does  not  apply  to  them: 

"If  you  wish  to  destroy  avarice,  you  must  de- 
stroy luxury,  which  is  its  mother.". 

The  Eskimo  only  takes  exercise  when  necessity 
compels  him,  and  never  as  a  health  measure  or  as 
a  source  of  pleasure.     He  has  no  faith  in  the  teach- 
ings of  Galen,  who  regards  active  exercise  as  essen- 
tial to  physical  and  mental  well  being. 

"Employment,  which  Galen  calls  'Nature's 
Physician,'  is  so  essential  to  human  happiness 
that  indolence  is  justly  considered  the  mother 
of  misery." — Barton. 

In  spite  of  all  the  hardships  and  difficulties  the 
Eskimo  has  to  encounter,  he  loves  the  land  he  lives 
in.  He  has  no  history  of  which  he  can  be  proud,  no 
flag  to  incite  patriotism,  no  heroes  to  emulate  or 
admire,  and  yet  it  is  only  in  this  region  of  ice  and 
snow,  where  darkness  and  light  are  most  equally 
divided,  that  he  is  happy  and  content.  Transplanted 
to  another  clime  he  sickens  and  dies.  Far  away 


228     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

from  his   native  land,  he  is  homesick,  discouraged, 
and  melancholy.     He  has 

"Affection  for  the  soil  itself,  which,  in  length 
of  time,  is  acquired  from  habit." — Livius. 

He  enjoys  and  loves  life;  he  fears  death. 

"The  love  of  life,  the  last  that  lingers  in  the 
human  heart." — Statins. 

The  study  of  these  people  of  the  extreme  North, 
a  distinct  race  with  an  obscure  origin,  their  habits, 
customs,  mental  and  physical  characteristics,  is  a 
subject  replete  with  interest  bordering  on  fascina- 
tion, and  will  teach  us  that 

"The  characters  of  men  placed  in  lower  sta- 
tions of  life  are  more  useful,  as  being  imitable 
by  greater  numbers." — Atterbury. 

And 

"Health  and  sickness,  enjoyment  and  suffer- 
ing, riches  and  poverty,  knowledge  and  ignor- 
ance, power  and  subjection,  liberty  and  bond- 
age, civilization  and  barbarity  have  all  their 
offices  and  duties;  all  serve  for  the  formation 
of  character." — Paley. 

The  span  of  life  of  the  Eskimo  is  probably  a  little 
shorter  than  that  of  civilized  people,  although  he 
is  exempt  from  nearly  all  the  diseases  caused  by 
intemperance  and  luxurious  living.  The  Psalmist's 
limit  of  age  is  not  often  attained.  Men  and  women 
between  sixty  and  seventy  are  not  many  among  the 
present  population.  Most  reluctantly  the  Eskimo, 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     229 

in  his  icy  home,  is  blind  to  the  uncertainty  of  the 
future,  and  it  would  be  difficult  to  convince  him  that 

"Death  is  the  liberator  of  him  whom  freedom 
cannot  release,  the  physician  of  him  whom 
medicine  cannot  cure,  and  the  comforter  of  him 
whom  time  cannot  console." — Cotton. 

And 

"Nature  has  given  to  man  nothing  of  more 
value  than  shortness  of  life." — Plurius  Major. 

These  people  were  happy  and  content  before 
they  tasted  of  some  of  the  poisonous  fruits  of  civi- 
lization. They  are  blind  to  some  of  the  highest 
virtues  of  life.  Centuries  of  isolation  from  the  out- 
side world  have  developed  in  them  an  animal  nature 
which  it  will  be  difficult,  if  not  impossible,  to  control, 
much  less  to  extinguish  by  any  known  influence  the 
foreigners  can  bring  to  bear  upon  them;  while,  on  the 
other  hand,  they  are  like  all  primitive  races,  only  too 
receptive  for  new  vices.  Civilization  will  bring  to 
them  new  needs  and  desires  which  they  will  attempt 
to  gratify  and  which  will  deviate  them  from  the  well- 
trodden  path  of  living  according  to  nature's  laws. 
When  too  late,  they  will  learn  to  their  sorrow: 

"If  thou  live  according  to  nature,  thou  wilt 
never  be  poor;  if  according  to  the  opinions  of 
the  world,  thou  wilt  never  be  rich." — Seneca. 


23o     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

THE  ESKIMO'S  PRAYER  TO  DEATH  (SINIPO) 

Our  heaven  is  near  the  Arctic  Pole 

Here,  where  ice  and  snow  forever  dwell 
And  lofty  mountains  inspire  our  soul 

As  we  glance  o'er  hill,  cliff,  crag,  and  dell. 

O  Sinipo! 

Our    most    dreaded    foe, 
Spare  the  Eskimo. 

Our  house  of  ice  is  our  happy  home 

Where  Kuna  sews  and  our  children  play, 
Over  land  and  sea  we  love  to  roam 
We  all  humbly  pray  do  death  delay. 

O  Sinipo! 

Our  most  dreaded  foe, 
Spare  the  Eskimo. 

O  Sinipo!     Let  us  here  below 

Where  bear,  seal  and  walrus  yield  us  food, 
Our  paradise  is  here,  you  well  know' 

Where  we  wish  to  dwell  in  happy  mood. 

O  Sinipo! 

Our  most  dreaded  foe, 
Spare  the  Eskimo. 

We  love  the  land  of  the  midnight  sun, 

The  icy  mountains,  the  frozen  sea; 
The  winter's  long  night  we  do  not  shun; 
Let  us  remain  here,  we  pray  of  thee. 

O  Sinipo! 

Our  most  dreaded  foe, 
Spare  the  Eskimo. 


TEN  DAYS  AT  ETAH 


Etah  is  in  the  very  heart  of  the  arctic  region.  It 
is  the  most  northern  point  inhabited  by  human 
beings  in  the  world.  It  is  a  place  familiar  to  all 
arctic  explorers  who  have  searched  for  the  pole  by 
the  way  of  Smith  Sound,  as  it  is  the  last  native 
settlement  on  the  Greenland  coast  on  this  highway 
to  the  pole.  The  name  Etah  is  intimately  associated 
with  some  of  the  most  stirring  and  disastrous  events 
in  the  history  of  arctic  exploration.  This  region 
has  been  known  since  1616,  when  Bylot  and  Baffin 
sailed  past  the  coast  for  the  first  time.  In  1818 
Sir  John  Ross  found  the  Smith  Sound  coast  in- 
habited, and  became  well  acquainted  with  the 
natives,  from  whom  he  received  much  valuable  infor- 
mation and  assistance.  It  was  Sir  John  who  called 
the  natives  in  this  part  of  Greenland  "Arctic  High- 
landers." 

The  arctic  scenery  about  Etah  is  magnificent. 
The  day  after  our  arrival,  I  ascended  Cape  Ohlsen, 
about  2,000  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  from 
where  the  great  inland  ice-cap  loomed  up  high  above 
the  coast  range  of  mountains  on  one  side,  and  on  the 
other  the  icy  waters  of  Smith  Sound  carry  south- 
ward fields  of  pack-ice  and  countless  giant  icebergs. 
Beyond  this  is  the  uninviting,  chilly,  barren,  snow 
and  ice-covered  coast  of  Ellesmere  Land  with  its 

231 


232     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

two  most  conspicuous  landmarks,  Cape  Isabella  and 
Cape  Sabine.  For  the  first  time,  I  was  given  here  an 
opportunity  to  see  the  effects  of  ice  on  the  clouds, 
on  a  large  scale.  When  the  sun  was  hidden  behind 
the  clouds,  the  clouds  to  the  south,  over  the  water, 
free  from  ice,  or  nearly  so,  were  dark;  to  the  north 
and  along  the  coast  of  Ellesmere  Land,  where  an 
immense  field  of  ice  was  being  carried  south  by 
the  Arctic  Current,  the  overhanging  clouds  were 
illuminated  by  the  reflection  from  the  ice.  The 
same  effect  on  the  clouds  is  produced  by  the  inland 
ice.  To  the  arctic  navigators,  this  effect  of  large 
bodies  of  ice  on  the  appearance  of  the  clouds  is  a 
very  important  sign  in  determining,  at  a  distance, 
the  difference  between  open  water  and  water  cov- 
ered with  ice. 

I  found  here,  at  the  summit  of  the  mountains,  in 
many  places  drifts  of  last  winter's  snow,  and  in 
one  of  them,  fresh  tracks  of  a  polar  bear  and  a  cub, 
which  I  followed  as  far  as  the  snow  extended  and 
then  lost  them  on  the  bare,  stony  plateau.  The 
number  and  size  of  the  boulders  which  are  scattered 
over  the  mountain  mesas  are  something  remarkable. 
Where  they  came  from  and  how  they  were  brought 
here  by  glacier  action  are  things  we  can  only  con- 
jecture. Near  the  summit  of  the  mountain,  in  a 
shallow,  I  found  a  moss  tundra,  and,  in  all  places 
where  a  little  soil  had  accumulated,  tufts  of  grass  and 
several  kinds  of  flowers.  Numerous  stone  fox- traps, 
in  a  neglected  condition,  were  found  in  different 
places,  indicating  the  favorite  haunts  of  this  valu- 
able fur-bearing  animal. 


3 
o-   < 


8   o 

yf    533 
I'    ° 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     233 

FRONT  GARDEN  OF  BROTHER  JOHN'S  GLACIER 

"What  more  miraculous  may  be  told — 
Than  ice,  which  is  congeal'd  with  senseless 

cold, 
Should  kindle  fire  by  wonderful  device.1' 

— Spenser. 

Who  would  look  for  a  flower  garden  in  the  im- 
mediate vicinity  of  a  glacier  in  this  latitude?  The 
arctic  region  is  full  of  surprises  and,  to  me,  not  the 
least  was  a  charming  flower  garden  and  a  treeless 
park  before  the  very  face  of  Brother  John's  Glacier. 

This  glacier  was  so  named  by  Doctor  Kane  in 
memory  of  his  brother,  John,  who  searched  for 
Dr.  Kane  and  found  him  at  Etah.  This  glacier  is  a 
leader  of  the  near-by  inland  ice-cap,  in  a  deep  gorge, 
at  the  head  of  Foulke  Fiord.  A  large  stream  of 
clear,  crystal  water  issues  from  underneath  the 
face  of  the  glacier  and  speeds  over  a  stony  bed  to 
reach  a  beautiful  little  mountain  lake,  to  find  tem- 
porary repose.  It  then  resumes  its  journey  over  a 
gradual  decline,  about  a  mile  in  length,  and  finally 
empties,  after  dividing  into  numerous  small  branches 
covering  a  small  delta,  into  the  bay. 

There  are  a  number  of  ancient  igloos  near  the 
mouth  of  this  stream  and  a  low,  grassy  plateau, 
where  the  natives  for  a  long  time  have,  evidently, 
had  their  winter  home.  The  flower  garden  I  am 
speaking  of  does  not  consist  of  isolated  flowers,  like 
the  gentian,  edelweiss,  and  Alpine  rose,  found  near 
the  edge  of  glaciers  and  eternal  snow  of  the  Swiss 
Alps,  but  a  great  variety  of  flowers,  and  in  numbers 
surpassing  the  most  exaggerated  ideas  of  the  floral 


234     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

wealth  of  the  very  heart  of  the  arctic  region.  I 
found  here,  not  only  swards  of  the  richest  green  and 
a  variety  of  exquisite  little  flowers,  but  also  a  plant 
living  on  the  cold  bosom  of  the  glacier  itself.  With 
such  evidences  of  the  wonderful  resources  of  nature 
before  me,  it  did  seem  to  me  that  ice  does  "kindle 
fire  by  wonderful  device." 

The  reflection  of  the  heat  rays  of  the  sun  by  ice 
is  a  remarkable  feature,  and,  as  such,  is  familiar  to 
all  Alpinists.  In  Foulke  Fiord,  the  almost  per- 
pendicular mountain  walls  on  each  side,  their  rocks 
and  cliffs  veneered  with  a  coating  of  the  color  of 
old  gold,  the  work  of  a  chromogenic  lichen,  also 
reflect  the  heat  rays.  Both  of  these  sources  of  heat 
and  the  sheltered  position  of  the  valley,  under  the 
influence  of  the  genial  midnight  sun,  transform  the 
upper  part  of  Foulke  Fiord,  during  the  midsummer, 
into  a  little  paradise  teeming  with  animal  and  vege- 
table life.  I  saw  here,  basking  in  the  sunshine, 
mosquitoes,  flies,  butterflies,  and  even  a  bumblebee 
of  no  small  proportions.  The  twittering  song  of 
the  snow-bunting  lent  cheer  to  the  pure  calm  air. 
The  arctic  hare  was  much  in  evidence,  and  dem- 
onstrated to  us  his  speed  in  ascending  the  steepest 
inclines  without  much  effort  on  his  part.  The  air  was 
alive  with  the  little  auk,  and  the  lordly  burgomaster 
dwelling  on  the  highest  cliffs  came  down  in  large 
numbers  to  the  the  little  mountain  lake  for  sport 
and  food.  Between  the  glacier  and  the  shore  of  the 
bay  is  unfolded  a  panorama  of  indescribable  beauty. 
It  is  one  of  nature's  most  beautiful  parks,  without 
trees  and  shrubs.  To  me  it  is  doubtful  if  the  pres- 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     235 

ence  of  trees  and  shrubs  could  enhance  the  exquisite 
beauty  of  this,  one  of  the  most  beautiful  spots  on 
earth.  The  only  shrub  that  I  could  find  was  the 
dwarfed  willow,  from  two  to  six  inches  in  length, 
wearing  its  catkins  in  full  blossom;  the  shrub,  not 
erect,  but  modestly  reclining  on  or  under  moss  in 
a  begging  attitude,  pleading  for  protection  against 
wind,  ice,  and  snow.  There  are  here  no  gorgeous 
fragrant  flowers;  no  birds  of  plumage  or  of  song. 
But  nature  has  given  this  favored  spot  in  the  heart 
of  the  arctics  charms  which  defy  description.  The 
gem-like  silver  lake,  the  rippling  mountain  stream 
above  and  below  it,  the  enormous  boulders  scattered 
over  the  surface  of  the  valley,  the  gilded  mountain 
walls,  the  great  inland  ice-cap,  with  its  leader, 
Brother  John's  Glacier,  the  beautiful  display  of 
flowers,  and  the  myriads  of  birds  make  up  a  scenery 
difficult,  if  not  impossible,  to  duplicate  anywhere  else 
in  the  world.  The  time  here  is  too  short,  even 
under  the  bewitching  rays  of  the  midnight  sun, 
for  nature  to  produce  anything  bearing  the  faintest 
resemblance  to  tropic  scenery.  What  is  on  exhibition 
here  is  intended,  exclusively,  to  please  the  eye.  The 
senses  of  smell,  taste,  and  hearing  are  almost  entirely 
ignored.  The  eye  is  captivated  by  the  harmony 
and  simplicity  of  the  display.  On  surveying  the 
magnificence  of  the  scenery,  one  awakens  to  the 
truth  of: 

"In  nature,  all  is  managed  for  the  best,  with 
perfect  frugality  and  just  reserve,  profuse  to 
none,  but  bountiful  to  all;  never  employing 
on  .one  thing  more  than  enough,  but  with 


23 6     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

exact  economy,  retrenching  the  superfluous 
and  adding  force  to  what  is  principal  in  every- 
thing.' ' — Shaftesbury. 

Nowhere  could  this  quotation  be  applied  with 
more  force  than  in  studying  the  environments  of 
Brother  John's  Glacier.  Stand,  as  I  did,  on  the  shore  of 
the  bay,  face  the  glacier,  look  to  right  and  to  the  left, 
glance  over  the  green  carpet  of  soft,  velvety  grass 
which  covers  a  large  part  of  the  floor  of  the  valley, 
look  upward,  and  behold  the  blue  dome  of  the  sky 
illuminated  by  the  friendly,  smiling  midnight  sun 
and  you  will  be  in  a  fit  mental  mood  to  realize  that 

"Nature,  the  handmaid  of  God  Almighty,  doth 
nothing  but  with  good  advice  if  we  make  re- 
searches into  the  true  reason  of  things." 
— James  HowelL 

In  the  face  of  nature  in  a  stern  mood,  so  near 
the  great  ice-shield  that  covers  the  greater  part  of 
Greenland,  so  near  the  car  of  the  King  of  the  North 
Pole,  surrounded  by  a  short-lived  but  vigorous  vege- 
tation, and  in  the  presence  of  so  much  animal  life, 
and  valley  and  mountainsides  decorated  with  a  great 
variety  of  pretty  flowers,  grass,  moss,  and  lichens  in 
gay  colors,  we  are  made  to  feel  our  insignificance, 
and  are  only  too  willing  to  acknowledge 

"To    recount    almighty    works, 
What  words  of  tongue  or  seraph  can  suffice, 
Or  heart  of  man  sufficient  to  comprehend.'' 

— Milton. 

The  inclosing  mountains,  rising  almost  perpen- 
dicularly from  the  valley,  with  their  rugged  faces 
hid  behind  a  drapery  of  rich  orange-yellow,  alive 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     237 

with  the  little  auk,  and  upon  their  highest  shelves 
the  homes  of  the  great  arctic  gull,  the  little  river  of 
clear,  crystal  water,  meandering  over  its  rocky, 
pebbly  bed,  draining  the  bewitching  little  emerald 
lake  near  the  face  of  the  glacier,  the  great  ice- 
cap overtowering  all  and  sending  down  in  to  the  rock- 
bound  valley  one  of  the  hundreds  of  its  icy  arms, 
the  majestic,  snow-white  burgomaster,  gliding  grace- 
fully and  noiselessly  over  the  rippling  surface  of  the 
miniature  lake  and  darkened  with  the  restless  little 
auk  flying  from  cliff  to  cliff  out  on  the  open  ocean 
and  back,  can  all  be  seen  without  changing  the  posi- 
tion. But  let  us  look  more  closely  at  what  nature 
has  in  store  for  the  eye  already  dazzled  by  the  bound- 
less beauties  of  the  panoramic  views.  Walking  in 
the  direction  of  the  glacier  after  landing  at  the  head 
of  the  bay,  I  have  to  wade  through  meadows  where 
the  grass  is  high  enough  for  the  scythe.  The  tiny 
stellaria  is  everywhere  rivalling  in  whiteness  the 
patches  of  last  year's  snow  clinging  to  the  shady 
places  on  the  mountain  sides  imparting  to  the  whole 
scenery  an  aspect  of  virgin  purity.  Where  the  soil 
is  more  scanty  the  beautiful  yellow  poppy  (Papaver 
nudicaulis)  thrives  and  fills  the  spaces  between  boul- 
ders with  a  carpet  of  gold.  In  doing  this  it  is  assisted 
by  the  shiny,  deep  yellow  petals  of  the  ranunculus 
and  dandelion,  the  latter  rising  proudly  above  a 
whirl  of  crenated,  succulent  basal  leaves.  Here 
and  there  the  predominating  white  and  yellow  alter- 
nates with  flowers  of  a  ruby  red,  in  small  bunches 
and  large  beds,  made  up  of  the  little  corollas,  rising 
an  inch  or  two  above  the  ground.  The  homely, 


238     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

succulent  saxifrage  (Saxifraga  nivalis)  competed  with 
the  grass  for  space  in  moist  places.  Then  there  was 
to  be  found,  in  the  same  places,  the  familiar  butter- 
cup (Caltha  palustris),  the  pedicularis,  and  three 
varieties  of  water  cress  (Draba). 

Extending  to  the  very  edge  of  the  glacier  these 
flowers  and  a  number  of  others  were  also  found,  with 
the  greatest  varieties  of  grasses,  mosses,  and  lichens. 
Even  small  mushrooms,  with  their  somber,  plicated, 
umbrella-like  roofs,  nature  had  not  forgotten.  It 
requires  no  stretch  of  the  imagination  to  see  that 
I  was  here  able  to  make  a  valuable  addition  to  my 
North  Star  Bay  herbarium. 

If  we  remember  that  this  rich  floral  display  had 
to  be  made  in  less  than  two  months,  and  that  new 
ice  has  already  formed  on  the  mountains  leaving 
little  time  for  the  ripening  of  the  seeds,  we  must 
marvel  at  the  boundless  resources  of  nature  in  pleas- 
ing the  eye  of  the  masterpiece  of  creation — man. 

In  approaching  the  glacier,  I  saw,  issuing  from 
beneath  it,  numerous  rivulets  of  the  clearest,  purest 
water,  and  I  listened  to  their  gentle  murmurings  as 
they  sped  over  their  uneven  bed  of  pebbles  and 
boulders  to  unite  into  a  stream  of  considerable  size, 
which  fed  the  near-by,  placid  little  lake.  Doctor 
Kane  makes  the  statement  that  this  lake  remains 
open  during  the  entire  winter.  The  face  and  surface 
of  the  glacier  were  deeply  furrowed  from  the  effects 
of  the  summer  sun,  and  here  and  there  miniature 
waterfalls  and  cascades  drained  the  product  of  the 
melting  process  into  the  network  of  rivulets  below. 

All  this  was  interesting  and  instructive,  but  it 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     239 

yet  remains  for  me  to  describe  here  one  of  nature's 
great  secrets — red  snow.  Before  ascending  the  gla- 
cier, I  noticed,  on  the  surface  near  its  face,  a  large 
patch  which  looked  as  though  the  snow  covering  it 
had  been  stained  with  blood.  I  knew  I  had  succeeded 
in  finding  an  opportunity  to  study  this  strange  phe- 
nomenon so  often  alluded  to  by  arctic  explorers. 
It  was  an  inducement  for  me  to  make  the  necessary 
effort  to  climb  the  face  of  the  glacier  and  reach  this 
spot.  When  I  undertook  this  arduous  task,  it  was 
so  warm  that  I  was  obliged  to  remove  my  hunting 
coat  and  perspired  freely  in  shirt  sleeves.  The  ascent 
of  the  face  of  the  glacier  was  exceedingly  difficult, 
and  when  I  reached  the  surface  I  found  that  the 
heat  of  the  sun  had  softened  the  snow  and  converted 
it  into  a  mass  resembling  crushed  sea-salt.  I  sank 
at  every  step  knee  deep  into  the  loose,  crystallized 
snow,  crossed  deep  furrows  rilled  with  water,  but  the 
red  snow  must  be  reached.  It  was  hard  work,  but 
I  secured  a  sufficient  quantity  of  the  stained  snow 
for  my  purpose.  Can  plants  grow  on  snow?  They 
do  here.  This  red  snow  is  snow  stained  blood-red 
by  a  minute  plant,  an  alga,  (Spaerella  nivalis).  It 
was  the  first  time  I  saw  red  snow,  although  I  looked 
for  it  all  along  the  coast.  Commander  Peary  saw 
it  on  this  trip  near  Cape  York. 

It  seems  that  red  snow  was  seen  oftener  by  the 
early  arctic  explorers  than  it  is  now.  Doctor  Kane 
saw  much  of  it,  and,  from  his  observations, 
became  convinced  that  it  was  only  found  in  places 
where,  on  the  surface  of  the  snow,  foreign  matter, 
such  as  fronds  of  lichen  or  filaments  of  moss,  have 


24o     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

accumulated,  serving  as  a  nutrient  medium  for  the 
protococcus.  He  says  further:  "I  observed 
that  the  color  of  the  protococcus  was  most  pro- 
nounced when  they  were  in  great  abundance."  The 
algae  produce  a  red  staining  material  which  pene- 
trates the  snow  to  the  depth  of  several  inches.  The 
intensity  of  the  stain  diminishes  from  the  surface 
downward.  In  the  spot  where  I  collected  the  red 
snow,  the  coloration  extended  more  than  four  inches 
below  the  surface.  No  snow  was  found  in  the  ban- 
dana handkerchief  when  I  reached  the  steamer,  but 
the  residue  on  the  surface  of  the  cloth,  subjected  to 
microscopic  examination,  revealed  the  protococcus. 
Plant  life  on  snow !  A  flower  garden  in  the  center 
of  the  arctic  region,  in  the  very  face  of  a  glacier,  and 
so  near  the  cold  breath  of  Greenland's  interior  ocean 
of  ice! 

"Our  senses,  however  armed  or  assisted,  are  too 
gross  to  discern  the  curiosity  of  the  workman- 
ship of  nature." — Ray. 

THE    HEART    OF   THE    ARCTICS 

"They   picture  it   a  gloomy  place, 

With  icy  mountains  rising  high, 
With  angry  clouds  that  sail  across 

A  far-off,   somber  sea  of  sky; 
Where  nought  of  beauty  ever  lives 

Where  peaceful  thought  could  ne'er  abide, 
But   only   sentiments  of   awe, 

To  fear  and  trembling  close  allied! 

"But  walk  with  me  beside  the  lake, 

A  gem  of  silver  'mid  the  green, 
While  rippling  streamlets,  crystal  clear, 

Tell  cheery  tales  of  all  they'd  seen: 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     241 

Of  mountainsides,  soft  tinted  with 
The  sunshine's  gold;  of  whitest  snow 

That  blushed  bright  red,  when  seaweeds  touched 
And  praised  its  face  of  pearly  glow. 

"Stand  in  the  valley,  walled  by  cliffs, 

That  rise  in  straightest  lines  on  high; 
They're  draped  in  veils  of  richest    hue, 

While  auk  and   sea-gull  hover  nigh. 
Come  through  the  meadows  thick  with  grass, 

Where  tiny  star-like  flowers  smile  back 
In  beds  of  snow,  that  hide  away 

From  out  the  sunshine's  golden  track! 

"The  lovely  dome  of  azure  blue, 

Whence  smiles  the  wondrous  Midnight  Sun, 
Looks  not  upon  a  flowery  soil, 

With  tropic  beauties  overrun. 
'Tis  close  to  where  stern  Frost  is  king, 

But,  O,  it  is  a  glorious  land! 
And  speaks  in  loudest  tones  of  God, 

And  'works  of  His  Almighty  Hand!' 

"I've  traveled  where  the  scented  breeze 

In  sweetest  music  sang  of  rest; 
I've  gazed  on  many  a  favored  spot, 

Where  Nature  lies  in  Beauty's  nest! 
But  Land  of  glorious  Midnight  Sun, 

To  thee,  my  song  of  praise  I  sing! 
Thy  wonders  make  men  bow  the  knee, 

And  hail  their  God  as  sovereign  King!" 
— Mary  E.  Griffin. 

FIRST  SUNDAY  IN  FOULKE  FIORD 

Sunday  was  observed  by  the  Newfoundland 
sailors  as  strictly  here  as  in  any  of  the  home  harbors. 
The  only  two  men  who  did  the  necessary  work  were 
the  cook  and  the  steward.  The  Eskimos  who  had 
no  religious  scruples  were  put  to  work  in  unloading  the 

16 


242     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

more  than  hundred  dogs  we  had  picked  up  at  the 
different  settlements  along  the  coast.  Boat  load 
after  boat  load  of  these  miserable  brutes,  whose 
appearance  and  behavior  had  not  improved  during 
the  voyage,  left  for  the  shore,  and  toward  evening 
all  were  landed,  to  the  great  relief  of  all  on  board. 
The  "Roosevelt"  had  brought  about  the  same  num- 
ber, and,  for  some  distance,  the  rocky  shore  was 
covered  with  these  beasts,  some  of  them  tied  securely 
to  large  stones.  The  snapping,  barking,  and  dismal 
howling  by  this  numerous  family  of  dogs  were  kept 
up  without  interruption  night  and  day.  The  na- 
tives then  began  to  unload  the  carcasses  of  the 
eighteen  walruses  which,  by  the  use  of  row  boats, 
were  brought  on  board  the  "Roosevelt."  Monday 
morning  the  deck  of  the  "Erik"  was  clear  of  the  most 
obnoxious  part  of  its  cargo  and  a  general  cleaning  up 
removed  the  unpleasant  conditions  which  had  taxed 
our  patience  and  forbearance  so  severely  for  a  number 
of  days. 

Sunday  afternoon,  twelve  Eskimo  women,  half 
of  them  with  infants  in  their  hoods,  went  ashore  all 
alone  in  one  of  the  large  boats  and  in  a  few  hours 
returned  with  several  bags  filled  with  moss  and  a 
large  basket  full  of  young  auks.  There  was  great 
excitement  when  the  boat,  managed  by  the  women, 
came  aside  of  the  steamer.  The  sea  had  become 
rough  since  their  departure,  so  that  it  was  difficult 
to  steady  the  boat,  and  in  their  attempt  to  come  up 
to  the  ladder  several  waves  dashed  over  them.  The 
women  who  managed  the  oars  remained  cool  during 
the  ordeal,  but  felt  much  relieved  when  their  hus- 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     243 

bands  came  to  their  relief,  when  one  after  the  other 
scrambled  up  the  unsteady  ladder  and  landed  on  the 
deck.  In  the  evening  four  of  the  women  came  into 
our  dining  room  and  gave  us  an  exhibition  of  the 
native  dance  and  song.  The  former  consisted  of 
swaying  movements  of  the  body  to  the  tune  of  an 
empty  cigar  box,  beaten  with  a  knife  sharpener; 
the  latter  was  the  monotonous  unmusical  chant  of 
the  country.  I  distributed  peanuts.  They  com- 
menced to  eat  them  in  the  shell.  They  evidently 
never  had  seen  a  peanut  before,  and  when  they  were 
instructed  in  the  proper  way  of  eating  them,  they 
appeared  to  enjoy  the  treat. 

The  real  Etah  weather  set  in  soon  after  lowering 
the  anchor.  The  sky  became  overcast,  shutting 
out  the  midnight  sun,  and  a  dense  fog  and  drizzling 
rain  obscured  the  surrounding  beautiful  scenery. 
The  temperature,  which,  in  the  morning,  was  46°  F., 
fell  to  40°  F.  in  the  evening.  Monday,  August  i4th. 
Fog  has  disappeared;  occasional. sunshine. 

HUNTING  AT  ETAH 

During  our  ten  days'  sojourn  at  Etah,  I  spent 
most  of  my  time  hunting  and  collecting  botanical 
specimens.  When  we  entered  Foulke  Fiord  we 
met  three  walruses  swimming  in  the  direction  of  the 
open  sea,  and  these  were  the  last  seen  on  the  trip. 
Only  one  seal  was  seen  here  during  the  entire  time. 
He  was  wounded,  but  made  good  his  escape.  The 
Eskimos  stated  that  the  reindeer  had  disappeared 
from  that  part  of  the  country  for  the  season,  so  we 
were  obliged  to  look  for  small  game.  During  all 


244     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

my  wanderings  in  the  neighborhood  of  Etah,  I  did 
not  see  a  sign  of  ptarmigan. 

THE  ARCTIC  HARE 

The  arctic  hare  (Lepus  timidus)  is  as  large  as 
the  jack  rabbit,  and  is  quite  plentiful  about  Etah. 
I  killed  seven  in  half  a  day  on  the  summit  of 
the  mountain  back  of  Cape  Ohlsen.  This  animal 
has  found  its  way  from  Europe  to  Greenland,  and 
in  the  course  of  time  has  become  completely 
bleached  with  the  exception  of  the  tips  of  the  ears, 
which  are  black.  It  is  found  as  far  as  the  most 
northern  point  of  Greenland,  where  one  was  killed 
by  Peary's  companion  at  a  time  when  starvation 
stared  them  in  the  face.  It  was  agreed  between 
the  two  that  only  a  small  part  of  the  animal  should 
be  eaten  and  the  balance  reserved  for  the  next  day; 
but  their  hunger  was  so  intense  that  the  whole  car- 
cass was  eaten  before  the  meal  was  finished.  Then 
both  lay  down  and  slept  for  hours,  to  awake  re- 
freshed and  ready  for  the  musk-ox  hunt  which 
proved  successful  and  supplied  them  with  an  abun- 
dance of  food.  There  have  been  many  other  occa- 
sions where  this  little  animal  came  to  the  relief  of 
parties  in  great  distress.  The  arctic  hare,  inhabit- 
ing as  it  does,  the  coldest  climate  in  the  world,  has 
preserved  the  length  of  its  ears,  while  nearly  all  of 
the  mammalian  animals  of  the  same  region  have  lost 
the  lobe  of  the  ear.  In  the  walrus  and  narwhal,  the 
lobe  of  the  ear  is  entirely  absent;  in  the  latter  animal, 
the  external  meatus  has  been  reduced  to  the  size  of 
a  pin-hole.  The  ears  of  the  fox  and  polar  bear  are 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     245 

very  short.  The  arctic  hare  is  a  very  timid  animal. 
Its  only  defenses  are  its  speed  in  summer  and  its 
white  color  in  winter  which  matches  the  spotless 
snow,  when  it  is  difficult  for  its  enemies  to  detect  it. 
The  natives  waste  no  powder  in  securing  this  animal, 
as  it  is  caught  in  stone-traps  like  the  fox.  The  fur 
is  used  in  making  sox. 

THE  LITTLE  AUK 

This  part  of  the  coast  is  the  favorite  haunt  of  the 
little,  swift,  hard  flying  auk,  the  real  arctic  bird.  It 
is  the  bird  that  brought  the  tidings  of  spring  to  Mr. 
Nansen  when  he  was  in  winter  quarters  in  lati- 
tude 83°  north.  The  little  auk  (Alle  nigricans)  is  a 
species  of  sea-fowl  belonging  to  the  family  alcidce. 
It  is  a  little  smaller  than  the  teal-duck,  a  thick  set, 
heavily  built  bird,  with  short  wings  and  tail;  black, 
with  white  breast  and  three-toed,  webbed  feet.  It 
is  only  found  in  the  colder  parts  of  the  northern 
hemisphere,  and  many  breed  within  the  Arctic  Circle. 
The  bill  is  black,  round  and  short,  slightly  curved 
downward,  the  upper  mandible  projecting  beyond 
the  lower.  The  little  auks  fly  as  swiftly  as  the  teal- 
duck,  but  with  greater  effort,  as  the  wings  are  short 
and  narrow.  They  are  also  expert  swimmers  and 
divers.  If  they  see  the  flash  of  the  gun  they  are  in 
safety,  as  they  dive  before  the  shots  reach  their 
mark.  The  great  auk  (Alca  impennis),  a  wingless 
bird  as  large  as  a  goose,  formerly  very  numerous  in 
the  arctic  regions  and  as  far  south  as  the  coast  of  New- 
foundland, has  been  extinct  for  the  last  fifty  years. 
It  was  eagerly  sought  after  by  the  Eskimos  and 


246     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

fishermen  for  food  and  because  its  skin  was  valuable 
material  for  clothing.  It  was  easily  secured,  as  it 
could  not  fly,  and  soon  became  extinct.  We 
found,  on  entering  Foulke  Fiord,  the  air  filled  with 
enormous  flocks  of  the  little  auk,  flying  up  near  the 
clouds  and  others  flying  only  a  few  feet  above  the 
surface  of  the  water. 

Foulke  Fiord  is  one  of  the  favorite  breeding 
places  of  the  little  auk.  There  is  no  place  in  the 
world  where  so  many  birds  can  be  seen  at  any  time, 
night  or  day.  Although  the  midnight  sun  makes 
no  distinction  between  day  and  night,  I  noticed 
that  the  greatest  flights  were  early  in  the  morning, 
when  the  birds  go  feeding  on  the  opfen  sea,  and  in  the 
evening  between  six  and  ten  o'clock,  when  they 
return  to  their  roosts.  They  feed  on  shrimps,  clios, 
and  entomostraca. 

It  is  now  near  the  middle  of  August,  the  time 
when  snow  may  be  expected,  and  it  seemed  to  me 
that  the  fabulous  numbers  of  this  bird  indicated 
that  they  were  congregating  here  preparatory  to 
their  migration  southward,  because, 

"Fowls  by  winter  forced  forsake  the  floods, 
And  wing  their  hasty  flight  to  happier  lands." 

— Dryden. 

THE  WONDERFUL  AUK  CLIFFS  AT  ETAH 

The  provision  nature  has  made  for  the  sustenance 
and  clothing  of  man  in  the  cold,  stern,  unfriendly 
climate  of  the  far  north  is  simply  marvelous.  In  the 
tropics,  fruit  and  fish  abound,  the  food  appropriate 
for  that  climate.  In  this  climate,  sea-fowl  and  fat 


AUK    ROOKERIES    IN    FOULKE    FIORD 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     247 

and  fur-yielding  mammalians  are  the  animals  which 
nature  has  intended  for  food  and  clothing  of  the 
scanty  population.  The  Eskimo  has  no  need  of, 
and  no  desirefor,  vegetables.  Watercress  and  dan- 
delions, relished  by  us  either  eaten  raw,  boiled,  or 
in  the  form  of  a  salad,  and  which  grow  in  abundance 
in  the  Foulke  Fiord  and  other  places  on  the  coast, 
the  natives  have  no  use  for.  I  tried  to  make  them 
familiar  with  these  excellent  articles  of  a  mixed  diet, 
but  they  had  no  more  use  for  them  than  we  would 
have  for  their  overripe  blubber  and  raw  meat.  By 
long  usage,  their  gastro-intestinal  canal  and  secre- 
tory glands  in  connection  with  it  have  become  averse 
to  vegetable  food  and  partial  to  the  kind  of  food  best 
adapted  for  this  rigorous  climate — raw  fat  and 
meat.  They  have  become,  exclusively,  meat  eaters; 
and,  although  I  have  no  positive  information  on  the 
anatomy  of  their  intestinal  canal,  I  surmise  it  is 
very  short  and  resembles  more  closely  that  of  their 
dogs  than  that  of  people  who  live  on  a  vegetable  or 
mixed  diet.  The  result  of  frequent  inquiries  of  per- 
sons who  have  seen  much  of  Eskimo  life  is  that 
appendicitis  never  occurs  in  these  people,  and  I  be- 
lieve this  is  the  case  with  all  races  that  live  exclu- 
sively on  an  animal  diet. 

It  is  very  interesting  here  to  observe  how  differ- 
ent animals  select  certain  places  for  their  short 
summer  life.  The  narwhal,  seal,  and  walrus  have 
their  own  feeding  grounds;  the  eider-duck  selects 
its  own  island;  the  guillemot  and  kittiwake  are  good 
friends  and  associate  together;  but  the  former  claims 
the  higher  shelves  of  the  cliff.  The  burgomaster- 


248     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

gull  preempts  the  highest,  the  most  inaccessible  tiers, 
and  will  not  have  anything  to  do  with  the  neighbors 
living  at  a  lower  altitude.  The  little  auk  prefers  to 
live  alone  and  claims  miles  and  miles  along  the 
northern  part  of  the  west  coast  of  Greenland  for  its 
exclusive  use  as  breeding  places.  Foulke  Fiord  is 
the  most  densely  populated  breeding  place  of  this 
daring,  hardy  inhabitant  of  the  polar  region. 

This  typical  bird  of  the  far  North  spends  no  time 
in  making  a  nest.  It  selects  for  its  rookeries  rocky 
cliffs  and  deposits  its  single  egg  between  stones 
where  the  entrance  is  too  narrow  for  the  arctic  fox 
to  reach  it.  It  hatches  its  single  egg  by  its  own  body 
warmth  on  the  cold,  senseless  rock.  Before  the 
little  one  can  fly  it  is  taken  to  the  water  below,  and 
is  instructed  in  the  art  of  swimming  and  diving  by 
its  devoted  mother.  Many  a  feather  less,  helpless 
young  auk  did  we  surprise  among  the  loose  rocks  of 
this  famous  rookery.  No  one,  who  has  not  been  an 
eye  witness,  can  form  the  faintest  idea  of  the  vast 
numbers  of  the  little  auk  which  can  be  seen  at  any 
time  in  the  rookeries,  on  the  water,  and  in  the  air 
in  Foulke  Fiord.  Before  we  entered  this  fiord,  Com- 
mander Peary  informed  me  that  I  would  see  there  a 
wealth  of  bird  life  that  would  astonish  me,  and  which 
could  not  be  seen  anywhere  else  in  the  world.  His 
prediction  was  more  than  realized.  The  rookeries 
are  in  places  where  the  steep  mountainsides  are 
covered  with  loose  stones.  From  the  level  of  the 
water  up  to  a  height  of  about  1,000  feet,  the  auk 
lives  during  the  breeding  season.  To  climb  up  a 
steep  cliff  about  500  feet  and  take  a  place  among  the 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     249 

loose  rocks  in  the  very  center  of  a  densely  crowded 
breeding  place  is  the  only  way  in  which  to  obtain 
some  idea  of  the  density  of  the  population  of  this 
bird.  The  rocks  are  literally  covered  with  birds, 
buried  under  black  and  white,  the  colors  of  the  liv- 
ing, moving  bird  carpet.  On  most  of  the  rocks, 
standing  room  is  scarce.  Frightened  by  the  appear- 
ance of  the  burgomaster-gull  swooping  down  from 
the  dizzy  heights  of  the  cliff,  their  worst  enemy, 
they  rise  with  the  speed  of  lightning  and  fill  the  air, 
like  a  swarm  of  bees,  and  not  a  bird  can  be  seen  in 
the  immediate  neighborhood  of  the  seat  of  invasion. 
The  danger  over,  by  the  disappearance  of  the  cause 
of  flight,  the  whirr  of  the  hard-working  wings  of  the 
legitimate  inhabitants  of  the  rookery  is  again  heard, 
and  in  a  few  minutes  the  rocks  are  as  thickly  popu- 
lated as  before  the  invasion.  These  birds  have  no 
fear  of  man.  They  perch  on  stones  almost  within 
reach  of  the  hand  all  around  him.  When  fright- 
ened by  the  appearance  of  the  burgomaster  or  the 
discharge  of  a  gun,  they  rush  off  with  the  noise  and 
speed  of  a  tornado,  only  to  come  back  in  a  few  min- 
utes to  occupy  the  same  places. 

One  day  I  watched  the  evening  flight  of  this 
bird  from  the  bridge  of  the  steamer.  From  about 
eight  to  ten  o'clock,  a  continuous  stream  poured 
into  the  fiord  from  the  open  sea,  flying  close  to  the 
surface  of  the  water.  It  was  an  uninterrupted, 
quivering,  silvery  stream,  while  large  flocks,  not 
far  apart,  flew  in  the  same  direction  near  the  summit 
and  face  of  the  mountains,  and  still  others  high  up 
in  the  air.  During  the  early  morning  hours,  the 


250     77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

flight  was  in  an  opposite  direction.  These  birds, 
found  in  such  fabulous  numbers  here  and  for  miles 
along  the  coast,  furnish  the  natives  with  an  impor- 
tant article  of  food  and  material  for  under  clothing. 
The  auk  is  one  of  the  first  birds  to  bring  the 
Eskimos  the  tidings  of  approaching  spring  and  the 
forerunner  of  the  prospective  walrus  hunt.  The 
natives  waste  no  ammunition  in  securing  these 
birds.  They  are  netted  without  difficulty,  a  task 
belonging  exclusively  to  the  women.  Armed  with 
a  hand  net,  the  women  hide  themselves  behind  a 
projecting  rock  in  the  line  of  the  most  active  flight, 
and  when  the  birds  come  within  range,  which,  is 
only  a  question  of  time,  they  throw  out  the  net  and 
catch  the  game.  A  large  basketful  in  a  few  hours 
is  an  ordinary  catch.  The  skinning  of  these  birds  is 
done  very  expeditiously  and  skillfully  by  the  women. 
A  circular  incision  is  made  around  the  base  of  the 
bill,  and  though  this  small  cut  the  body  of  the  bird 
is  enucleated  with  their  deft  fingers  in  a  few  minutes 
without  doing  any  damage  to  the  skin.  Wings  and 
legs  are  severed  by  biting  them  off  at  the  desirable 
places.  The  flesh  is  generally  eaten  raw.  I  sampled 
stewed  and  broiled  auk,  but  they  did  not  taste  any 
different  to  me  than  our  hell-diver  prepared  in  the 
same  way.  The  skins  are  dried,  and  then  chewed 
soft  and  pliable  by  the  women,  when  they  serve  as 
a  most  excellent  material  for  under-vests  for  both 
sexes.  Very  few  other  birds  venture  into  Foulke 
Fiord.  Among  them  are  the  burgomaster,  black 
guillemot,  eider-duck,  and  the  raven.  The  raven  is 
the  only  bird  in  the  arctic  region  that  does  not  mi- 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     251 

grate.  It  remains  loyal  to  the  region  during  the 
entire  year.  It  is  a  magnificent  bird,  daring  and 
courageous.  The  last  bird  in  Foulke  Fiord  that  I 
killed  was  a  raven,  and  it  took  both  barrels  of  my 
shot  gun  to  secure  him  as  one  of  my  trophies.  One 
of  the  members  of  our  party  killed  seventy  auks 
with  two  shots,  which  will  give  to  the  reader  an  idea 
of  the  fabulous  number  of  this  bird  in  Foulke  Fiord 
during  the  breeding  season.  The  best  I  could  do 
when  looking  for  meat  for  the  crew  of  the  "Erik" 
was  to  kill  twenty-three  birds  in  one  shot. 

The  rookeries  in  Foulke  Fiord  ought  to  be  a 
source  of  considerable  income  to  the  Danish  govern- 
ment by  deposits  of  guano,  but  this  deposit  is  washed 
away  annually  and  is  only  found  in  parts  of  the 
world  where  the  wild  fowl  congregate  and  their  de- 
posits remain  and  inspissate,  accumulating  rich 
phosphates  and  ammonia  in  the  form  of  the  most 
valuable  fertilizer.  In  the  auk  cliffs  of  Foulke 
Fiord  and  elsewhere  on  the  coast,  the  animal  deposit 
is  removed  by  the  freshets  every  year,  and  emanates 
a  foul  odor  which  keeps  at  a  distance  even  the  arctic 
hare,  a  scrupulously  clean  animal. 

THE  CLIMATE  OF  ETAH  AND  ESKIMO  LIFE  HERE 

The  time  for  our  departure  came  long  before  the 
unloading  was  completed  and  about  350  tons  of  coal 
was  our  ballast  when  we  left  Etah  at  5:45  P.  M., 
Wednesday,  August  23d.  The  weather  for  this  lati- 
tude and  this  time  of  the  year  was  exceptionally 
fine.  The  midnight  sun  shone  most  of  the  time  in 
all  his  splendor;  the  atmosphere  was  clear,  dry,  and 


252     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

bracing;  temperature  in  the  shade  ranged  between 
35°  F.  and  53°  F,,  and  the  highest  the  thermometer 
registered  in  the  sun  was  63°  F.  Several  nights 
thin  ice  formed  on  small  pools  on  the  mesas  of  the 
high  mountains.  Several  times  sun  and  moon  were 
visible  in  the  sky  at  the  same  time,  obscuring  entirely 
the  more  feeble  light  of  the  largest  stars,  which,  in 
the  dark  winter,  are  so  numerous  and  conspicuous 
near  the  pole.  Although  we  were  detained  here 
longer  than  was  expected,  there  were  many  things 
of  interest  to  occupy  my  attention.  The  midnight 
sun,  always  present,  and  his  various  relations  to 
the  sky,  clouds,  mountains,  icebergs,  ice-cap,  gla- 
ciers, to  the  ocean,  and  on  the  near-by  coast  of 
Ellesmere  Land  furnished  a  study  replete  with  new 
surprises  and  uninterrupted  pleasures.  The  timid 
moon  contributed  her  share  to  the  pleasures  of  the 
study  of  the  ever  interesting  sky.  The  climbing  of 
mountains  and  hunting  on  sea  and  land  afforded 
ample  sport  and  recreation.  The  collection  and 
classification  of  the  interesting  flora  and  the  daily 
study  of  the  natives,  their  manners,  and  habits 
of  living  made  time  pass  rapidly  and  profitably. 

Commander  Peary  in  making  the  final  selection 
of  the  native  contingent  of  his  expedition,  left 
twenty  Eskimos  at  Etah — four  men,  a  number  of 
boys  from  twelve  to  sixteen  years  of  age,  and  the 
rest  women  and  children.  This  remnant  of  the 
expedition  lived  in  four  tents,  pitched  under  a  cliff 
near  the  anchorage  place  of  the  "Erik"  and  "Roose- 
velt." From  the  time  we  arrived  in  North  Star 
Bay,  I  have  had  an  opportunity  to  see  and  observe 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     253 

more  than  one  hundred  Eskimos  from  different 
parts  of  the  west  coast,  more  than  one-half  of  the 
entire  population  of  the  genuine  natives,  and  there 
has  not  been  a  day  when  I  did  not  find  some  new 
feature  or  trait  of  these  interesting  people.  I  have 
watched  the  animal  instincts  and  skill  of  the 
Eskimo  hunter  and  marveled  at  the  dexterity  with 
which  the  women  dress  skins  and  convert  them  into 
clothing  and  boots.  I  never  tired  of  seeing  the 
toy -like,  frail  kayak  glide  over  the  smooth  water 
paddled  by  men,  women,  and  children  with  admir- 
able skill.  The  home  life  of  these  untutored 
children  of  nature  is  as  simple  as  it  is  interesting. 
Perhaps  I  cannot  give  a  glimpse  of  this  in  a  more 
tangible  way  than  by  relating  a  brief  account  of 


AN  ESKIMO  WEDDING   ON    BOARD 
THE  "ERIK" 


After  the  departure  of  the  "Roosevelt,"  the  na- 
tives left  behind  lived  for  several  days  in  the  fore- 
castle of  the  "Erik."  Among  them  was  a  little 
woman,  not  more  than  four  feet  six  inches  in  height, 
who  came  on  board  the  "Erik"  at  North  Star  Bay 
all  alone.  From  whence  she  came  we  did  not  know, 
but,  judging  from  the  appearance  of  her  boots  and 
clothing,  the  scanty  outfit  she  carried,  and  the 
ravenous  appetite  she  displayed,  she  must  have 
made  a  long  journey  over  land.  She  had  no  rela- 
tives among  the  people  we  had  already  on  board  or 
those  who  joined  us  later,  but  was  treated  well  by 
all  of  them,  as  is  the  custom  among  them  when  they 
travel  from  one  settlement  to  another.  It  was 
rumored  that  she  was  a  widow,  and  her  flaccid 
breasts,  not  too  carefully  hidden,  showed  only  too 
plainly  that  she  had  been  a  mother.  She  was  free 
to  admit  that  her  age  corresponded  with  the  number 
of  fingers  on  four  hands,  but  her  looks  indicated  that 
it  would  be  perfectly  safe  to  add  the  five  fingers  of 
another  hand,  if  not  more.  She  was  not  as  cheerful 
and  happy  as  the  rest,  and  her  face  was  such  as  to 
impress  one  that  she  had  recently  undergone  some 
sorrowful  experiences.  She  took  a  lively  interest 
in  everything  that  was  going  on  and  seemed  to 
brighten  up  day  after  day.  She  was  fond  of  work, 

255 


256     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

and  for  a  few  presents  of  little  value  she  dressed  the 
skins  of  my  two  walrus  heads  and  many  bird  skins, 
the  latter  by  chewing  them.  In  scraping  the  walrus 
skins  she  never  wasted  a  fragment  of  the  gel- 
atinous substance  about  the  region  of  the  nose, 
which  she  ate  as  fast  as  it  was  cut  off.  This,  eaten 
raw,  is  considered  a  great  delicacy.  She  exhibited 
the  same  liking  for  the  fat  and  shreds  of  meat  of  the 
bird  skins. 

Another  member  of  the  group  was  a  boy  not  more 
than  sixteen  years  old,  who  was  very  proud  of  a 
white  canvas  cap  for  which  some  member  of  the 
crew  had  no  further  use.  This  cap  gave  the  boy  a 
singular  appearance,  as  his  long,  flowing,  black  hair 
reached  to  the  shoulders  and  most  of  the  time  cov- 
ered much  of  his  boyish  face.  I  do  not  know  whether 
these  young  people  had  met  before,  but  the  court- 
ship, was,  certainly,  a  very  brief  one.  The  small 
Eskimo  population  slept  in  the  forecastle.  On  the 
second  or  third  morning,  the  boy  met  me  on  deck, 
his  face  all  sunshine,  and  with  pride  and  intense  satis- 
faction he  pointed  to  the  smiling  widow  and  then 
to  his  breast,  thereby  indicating  that  she  now 
belonged  to  him.  I  knew  then  what  had  hap- 
pened, as  actions  often  speak  plainer  than  words. 
The  two,  by  common  consent,  without  consulting 
any  one  and  without  any  kind  of  ceremony,  had 
become  one.  We  can  hardly  call  this  a  wedding.  It 
was  in  reality,  as  it  always  is  among  the  Eskimos, 
a  mating.  These  two  young  people  had  absolutely 
nothing  except  the  clothes  they  were  wearing,  and 
these  were  by  no  means  new.  The  Eskimos  who 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     257 

were  living  in  tents  on  shore,  when  informed  what 
had  occurred,  received  the  news  with  hearty  laughs, 
as  though  what  had  happened  meant  rather  a  joke 
than  a  serious  step  in  the  lives  of  the  newly  mated 
couple.  Quietly  and  unexpectedly  as  the  affair  was 
conducted,  it  seemed  to  me  that  the  visitors  to  this 
lonely  spot,  following  a  common  usage,  ought  not 
to  let  this  unusual  opportunity  go  by  without  show- 
ing these  savages,  by  suggestion  at  least,  what  a 
wedding  should  be  like.  The  young  couple  were 
placed  side  by  side,  the  captain  joined  their  hands, 
and  pronounced  the  words  "TmArt"  (man)  and  "Kuna" 
(woman  or  wife).  They  both  nodded  and  smiled, 
and  said  "E"  (yes).  Whether  this  post-nuptial  for- 
mality will  tie  the  matrimonial  knot  more  firmly 
and  more  lasting  is  very  doubtful.  We  did  what 
we  could  to  give  them  a  start  in  life.  The  wedding 
presents  comprised,  among  other  things,  a  knife,  a 
pair  of  scissors,  needles  and  thread,  comb,  tobacco, 
a  bar  of  soap  (which  will  probably  be  eaten),  pieces 
of  iron  and  wood,  and  a  liberal  supply  of  crackers 
and  cooked  food. 

The  Eskimo  word  for  "I  thank  you"  is  kuyanaka; 
but  it  is  seldom  heard,  nor  do  they  express  their 
gratitude,  as  a  rule,  by  any  special  kind  of  demon- 
stration. But  this  couple  visibly  expressed  their 
feeling  of  appreciation  of  what  was  being  done  for 
them  to  make  the  union,  for  the  time  being,  at  least, 
a  happy  one,  as 

"Contentment  is  a  pearl  of  great  price,  and  who- 
ever procures  it,  at  the  expense  of  ten  thousand 
desires,  makes  a  wise  and  happy  purchase." — 
Balguy. 
17 


COMMANDER  PEARY  ON  DECK  OF  THE 
"ROOSEVELT" 


THE  "ROOSEVELT" 

The  "Roosevelt"  was  built  especially  for  Com- 
mander Peary  at  an  expense  of  $100,000,  defrayed 
by  the  Peary  Arctic  Club.  In  designing  the  plans 
for  the  construction  of  the  ship,  the  suggestions  made 
by  Peary,  the  outcome  of  a  long  and  varied  experi- 
ence in  the  arctic  regions,  were  made  use  of.  The 
vessel  was  built  by  Capt.  Charles  B.  Dix,  of  Messrs. 
McKay  &  Dix,  of  New  York  City,  Greenland  ship- 
masters and  owners  of  long  standing.  The  builder's 
model  and  the  rig  of  the  ship,  have  been  worked  out 
personally  by  Captain  Dix,  and  are  due  entirely  to 
him.  The  machinery  was  built  and  installed  by  the 
Portland  Company,  of  Portland,  Maine.  The  keel 
was  laid  on  October  15,  1904,  in  the  shipyard  of  the 
firm,  who  built  the  vessel  at  Bucksport,  Maine,  and 
the  ship  was  launched  the  23rd  of  March,  1905. 
The  installation  of  the  machinery  began  two  days 
later  at  Portland,  and  was  practically  completed  in 
less  than  two  months. 

The  official  measurements  of  the  ship  are  as  fol- 
lows: Length,  184  feet;  breadth,  35^  feet;  depth 
i6i  feet;  gross  registered  tonnage,  614  tons;  maxi- 
mum load  displacement,  about  1,500  tons.  The 
back  bone  of  the  ship — viz.,  keel,  main  keelson, 
stern,  and  stern-posts,  as  also  her  frames,  plank 
sheer,  the  waterways,  and  garboard  strake — are  of 
white  oak.  Beams,  sister  keelsons,  deck  clamps, 

259 


260     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

'tween-deck  waterways,  bilge  strakes,  ceiling,  and 
inner  course  of  planking  are  yellow  pine.  Outer 
planking  is  white  oak,  and  decks  are  Oregon  pine. 
Both  the  ceiling  and  outer  course  of  white-oak  plank- 
ing are  edge-bolted  from  stem  to  stern  and  from 
plank  sheer  to  garboard  strake.  The  fastenings  are 
galvanized  iron  bolts,  going  through  both  courses 
of  planking  and  the  frames,  and  riveting  up  over 
washers  on  the  inside  of  the  ceiling. 

Special  features  of  the  ship  are  as  follows:  First, 
in  model;  a  pronounced  raking  stern  and  wedge- 
shaped  bow;  very  sharp  dead  rise  of  floor,  affording 
a  form  of  side  which  cannot  be  grasped  by  the  ice;  a 
full  run,  to  keep  the  ice  away  from  the  propeller; 
a  pronounced  overhang  at  the  stern  to  still  further 
protect  the  propeller,  and  a  raking  stern-post. 

Second,  peculiarities  of  construction;  the  unusual 
fastenings,  as  noted  above;  the  unusual  and  massive 
arrangement  of  the  beams,  and  bracing  of  the  sides 
to  resist  pressure;  the  introduction  of  screw  tie-rods 
to  bind  the  ship  together;  the  development  of  the 
'tween-deck  beams  and  waterways  on  a  water  line, 
instead  of  on  a  sheer,  like  the  upper-deck  beams;  the 
placing  of  the  ceiling  continuous  from  sister  keelson 
to  upper-deck  clamps,  and  the  placing  of  the  'tween- 
deck  waterways,  deck  clamps,  and  the  bilge  strakes 
on  top  of  the  ceiling ;  the  filling  in  of  the  bow  almost 
solid  where  it  meets  the  impact  of  the  ice;  the  mas- 
sive and  unusual  reinforcement  of  the  rudder  post 
to  prevent  twisting;  the  adoption  of  a  lifting  rudder, 
which  may  be  raised  out  of  danger  from  contact 
with  the  ice ;  the  armoring  of  the  stern  and  bows  with 


CAPT.   BARTLETT  OF  THE   "ROOSEVELT" 


77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     261 

heavy  plates  of  steel;  the  protection  of  the  outer 
planking  with  a  2\  inch  course  of  greenheart  ice 
sheathing. 

Peculiarities  of  rig  are:  Pole  masts  throughout; 
very  short  bow  sprit,  which  can  be  run  inboard  when 
navigating  in  ice  of  considerable  elevation;  three- 
masted  schooner  rig  with  large  balloon  staysails. 
The  "Roosevelt"  carries  fourteen  sails,  including 
storm  stay-sails,  and  has  a  rail  area  somewhat  less 
than  that  of  a  three-masted  coasting  schooner  of  the 
same  size. 

Peculiarities  of  the  machinery  installments  are: 
A  compound  engine  of  massive  construction;  an 
unusually  heavy  shaft  of  forged  steel  12  inches  in 
diameter;  a  massive  propeller,  ioj  feet  in  diameter, 
but  with  blades  of  large  area,  which  are  detachable 
in  case  of  injury;  a  triple  boiler  battery;  arrange- 
ments for  admitting  live  steam  to  the  low-pressure 
cylinder,  in  order  to  largely  increase  the  power  for 
a  limited  time;  an  elliptical  smokestack  to  reduce 
wind  resistance. 

The  above  description  of  the  construction  of  this 
vessel,  by  the  aid  of  which  Commander  Peary  con- 
fidently expects  to  realize  the  ambition  of  his  life,  is 
taken  from  a  descriptive  pamphlet  of  the  "Roose- 
velt" published  by  the  Peary  Arctic  Club.  A  ship  so 
well  constructed,  equipped,  and  manned,  like  the 
"Roosevelt,"  is  almost  sure  to  win  the  race  to  the 
arctic  pole.  It  is  a  source  of  regret  that  the  speed 
of  the  vessel  was  reduced  by  an  accident  to  one  of 
the  boilers  before  the  battle  with  ice  commenced,  but 
the  seaworthiness  of  the  craft  remains.  The  inside 


262     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

arrangements  for  comfort  and  health  during  the  long 
arctic  winter  have  received  due  attention  and  have 
been  planned  and  executed  to  meet  all  requirements. 

DINNER  ON  THE  "ROOSEVELT" 

Shortly  before  Commander  Peary  left  Etah  to 
reach  a  point  as  far  north  as  possible  at  this  season 
of  the  year,  for  the  purpose  of  shortening  the  dis- 
tance between  his  winter  quarters  and  the  final  ob- 
ject of  his  search — the  pole — he  invited  myself  and 
my  companion,  Dr.  Frederick  Sohon,  to  dine  with 
him  on  board  of  his  vessel.  This  gave  me  an  excel- 
lent opportunity  to  see  and  study  some  of  the  most 
important  peculiarities  of  the  construction  of  this 
vessel,  which  were  pointed  out  and  described  in  de- 
tail by  our  distinguished  host.  The  commander 
and  his  officers  live  in  a  real  house  built  on  the  rear 
part  of  the  vessel,  which  contains  a  kitchen,  a  dining 
room,  a  bath  room,  and  sleeping  apartments.  All 
of  the  rooms  are  well  lighted  and  thoroughly  ventil- 
ated. The  commander's  room  is  large,  elegantly 
furnished,  and  contains  a  well-selected  library.  Mrs. 
Peary  and  the  many  friends  of  the  persistent  and 
enthusiastic  explorer,  left  nothing  undone  to  make 
his  immediate  surroundings,  during  the  long  and 
trying  trip,  as  pleasant  and  comfortable  as  possible. 
A  pianola,  presented  by  one  of  his  admiring  friends, 
with  a  great  variety  of  music,  amounting  to  a  cash 
value  of  $300.00,  is  one  of  the  principal  attractions 
of  this  room,  and  will  contribute  much  to 
shorten  and  render  more  endurable  the  long  winter 
night.  The  electric  lighting  of  the  interior  of  the 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     263 

ship  and  the  sweet  music  of  the  pianola  will  do  much 
to  counteract  the  depressing  effects  of  the  fierce 
climate  and  long  arctic  night.  Like  other  explorers 
of  this  part  of  the  world  have  done  before,  it  is  the 
commander's  object  to  provide  for  his  crew  and  the 
natives  active  exercise  and  amusement  during  the 
long  winter,  to  keep  up  their  physical  and  mental 
activities. 

The  dinner  gave  me  a  good  idea  of  what  a  dinner 
during  the  holiday  season  in  the  arctics  is  like,  as  it 
was  a  genuine  arctic  affair.  The  principal  course 
was  a  stuffed  and  baked  walrus  heart.  It  required 
a  large  plate  to  serve  this  dish,  as  the  heart  of  a  wal- 
rus is  larger  than  the  head  of  an  adult.  It  was  evi- 
dently not  the  first  time  that  the  excellent  cook  had 
prepared  this  novel  dish,  as  it  proved,  at  least  for 
me,  a  great  delicacy,  and  the  charming  host  made 
me  eat  three  liberal  portions.  A  beef  heart  cannot 
compare  with  a  walrus  heart  in  flavor.  It  is  the 
intention  of  the  commander,  when  he  returns  from 
this  expedition,  to  give  the  members  of  the  Peary 
Arctic  Club  a  real  arctic  dinner  which  will  include 
this  dish,  ptarmigan,  seal-flippers,  musk-ox  meat 
and  bear-meat  roasted,  reindeer  steak,  raw  walrus 
liver  and  slices  of  blubber,  breast  of  the  little  auk, 
roast  eider-duck,  etc.,  to  show  them  what  the  arctic 
regions  can  furnish  for  the  table. 

The  secret  of  success  of  Peary  in  his  explorations 
of  the  arctic  regions  has  been  his  dependence  on 
food  the  country  can  furnish,  and  it  is  due  to  this 
foresight  that  the  members  of  his  expeditions  have 
never  suffered  from  scurvy  or  any  other  serious  disease. 


264     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  conversation  during  and  after  dinner  was  a 
great  mental  feast  for  me,  as  the  host,  an  enthusiast 
in  his  undertaking  and  his  deep  knowledge  of  every- 
thing pertaining  to  the  extreme  North,  spoke  freely 
of  his  work  in  the  past  and  his  plans  for  the  future. 
He  is  sanguine  that  this  expedition,  so  well  planned 
and  thoroughly  equipped,  will  realize  the  dream  and 
expectations  of  his  life.  His  crew  consists  of  well- 
selected,  hardy,  reliable  and  fearless  Newfound- 
landers, all  of  whom  have  seen  much  service  along 
the  coasts  of  Labrador  and  Greenland — just  the  kind 
of  men  best  adapted  for  arctic  work.  He  has  been 
equally  cautious  in  the  selection  of  the  Eskimos  who 
are  to  accompany  him.  Many  of  them,  men  and 
women,  have  taken  part  in  one  or  more  of  his  former 
expeditions.  The  trustworthiness  and  efficiency  of 
these  have  been  tested  and  found  satisfactory. 


DEPARTURE  OF  THE  "ROOSEVELT" 


The  "Roosevelt"  left  Etah,  Thursday,  August 
i  ;th,  at  three  o'clock  in  the  morning.  The  midnight 
sun  was  shining  brightly,  the  sea  was  quiet,  and 
everything  propitious  for  a  good  start  for  the  utmost 
northern  limits  of  navigable  waters.  Commander 
Peary  has  been  making  preparations  for  this  expe- 
dition for  the  last  two  years.  Only  one  who  has 
had  personal  experience  in  getting  ready  for  such  a 
voyage  can  understand  and  appreciate  what  this 
means.  As  the  inmates  of  the  ship  will  be  en- 
tirely isolated  from  the  outside  world  and  placed  on 
their  own  resources  for  at  best  one,  if  not  two  or 
even  three  years,  it  requires  much  care  and  fore- 
thought to  stock  such  a  ship  to  meet  the  require- 
ments of  so  many  people  and  for  such  a  long  time, 
and  to  make  provision  for  all  kinds  of  emergencies 
on  land  and  on  sea.  The  building  of  a  special 
vessel  for  this  purpose,  the  selection  of  an  efficient, 
reliable  crew,  the  purchase  of  supplies,  the  recruit- 
ing of  Eskimos  for  service,  the  collection  of  a  suffi- 
cient number  of  dogs,  and  attention  to  other  innu- 
merable minor  details  are  matters  which  must  tax 
severely  the  good  judgment,  forethought,  and  execu- 
tive abilities  of  the  one  who  is  in  command  of  the 
expedition.  Commander  Peary's  long  experience  in 
the  arctic  regions,  his  executive  abilities,  which  are 
of  the  highest  order,  his  familiarity  with  the  habits 
and  customs  of  the  Eskimos,  and  his  knowledge  of 

265 


266     7JV  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

their  language  are  qualifications  which  fit  him  admi- 
rably for  the  arduous  task  before  him.  He  left  Etah 
confident  of  success.  The  final  preparations  here 
made  his  last  days  at  Etah  very  onerous.  He  had  to 
look  backward  and  forward.  His  last  messages  to 
his  family  and  friends  had  to  be  written,  and  all  final 
arrangements  for  the  future  made.  A  few  native 
families  not  desirable  for  the  expedition  were  left 
here  for  the  winter.  He  selected  for  his  service  only 
men  upon  whom  he  can  rely,  twenty-three  in  number, 
who,  with  their  families,  made  the  whole  number  of 
Eskimos  on  the  "Roosevelt"  about  sixty.  One  of 
the  last  things  Peary  did  was  to  call  the  roll  at  mid- 
night. As  the  names  of  the  natives  were  called, 
they  stepped  forward  and  formed  a  group  on  the 
rear  end  of  the  deck.  Among  those  who  remained 
on  the  "Roosevelt,"  I  counted  seven  infants  in  the 
hoods  of  their  mothers,  one  or  two  young  widows, 
and  several  boys  from  fourteen  to  eighteen  years  of 
age. 

The  center  of  the  deck  was  occupied  by  213 
Eskimo  dogs,  which  were  in  anything  but  a  peaceful 
disposition.  The  usual  howling,  barking,  snapping, 
and  fighting  were  worse  than  any  time  before,  owing 
to  the  increased  number  of  dogs  and  the  narrowness 
of  the  space  assigned  to  them.  This  midnight  scene, 
with  the  two  vessels  lying  side  by  side  in  waters  at 
the  very  northern  limit  of  human  habitation,  it 
would  be  difficult  to  describe  and  impossible  to  for- 
get. The  crew  of  the  "Roosevelt"  knew  what  to 
expect;  the  natives  were  as  unconcerned  as  though 
they  were  merely  going  to  the  next  hunting  ground. 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     267 

Most  of  the  provisions  were  stored  on  deck  in 
order  to  be  readily  accessible  in  case  of  an  accident 
to  the  ship.  The  deck  was  crowded  with  dogs, 
Eskimos,  and  crew  wedged  in  between  boxes,  barrels, 
sledges,  kayaks,  and  coal  in  bags.  The  sky  was 
cloudless,  and  the  midnight  sun  smiled  on  the  re- 
markable scene.  The  "Roosevelt"  seemed  to  groan 
under  the  heavy  cargo  which  weighed  down  her  gun- 
wales almost  to  the  water's  edge;  and  yet  more  is  to 
go  on.  Shortly  after  midnight,  she  crawled  up  to 
the  side  of  the  "Erik"  and  several  dozen  puncheons 
of  whale  meat,  brought  from  Newfoundland  as  food 
for  the  army  of  hungry  dogs,  were  taken  on  deck. 

Commander  Peary  came  on  board,  issued  his  last 
orders,  left  his  last  messages  for  his  family  and 
friends,  and  we  bade  him  good-by  and  wished  him 
Godspeed  and  a  safe  return  after  accomplishing 
the  desire  of  his  life.  At  three  o'clock  in  the  morn- 
ing, the  whistles  of  both  steamers  shrieked  the  last 
farewell,  the  stone  walls  of  the  fiord  echoed  and  re- 
echoed their  shrill  voices,  the  propeller  was  set  in 
motion,  and  the  "Roosevelt"  glided  out  of  the  fiord 
under  a  flood  of  light  from  the  midnight  sun  and  was 
soon  lost  sight  of  behind  Cape  Ohlsen,  where  her 
course  was  directed  toward  Cape  Sabine,  her  first 
destination. 

The  amount  of  pack-ice  in  Smith  Sound  was 
unusually  small  at  this  season  of  the  year,  and  there 
is  every  reason  to  entitle  us  to  the  hope  that  the  ex- 
plorer will  reach  it  in  due  time,  and  that  he  will  meet 
with  no  insurmountable  obstacles  on  his  way  further 
north  to  latitude  83°  45'  where  he  intends  to  remain 


268     77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

during  the  winter,  and  from  where  he  expects  to 
make  his  desperate  dash  for  the  pole  over  the  ice  by 
the  use  of  dogs  and  sledges.  If  he  succeeds  in  bring- 
ing the  "Roosevelt"  as  far  north  as  he  has  planned, 
he  will  be  only  420  miles  from  the  pole.  As  he  is 
well  supplied  with  dogs  and  sledges,  there  is  every 
reason  to  believe  that,  if  no  unexpected  obstructions 
are  met  with,  he  will  triumph  over  the  fierce  ele- 
ments and  will  be  the  first  human  being  to  see  and 
describe  what  so  many  others  have  sought  in  vain — 
the  north  pole.  From  what  I  have  seen  of  Com- 
mander Peary  and  his  remarkable  outfit,  I  feel 
almost  confident  that  our  flag  will  be  unfurled  to  the 
icy  breezes  of  the  north  pole  in  less  than  a  year;  and 
I  am  sure  every  citizen  of  the  United  States  will  take 
pride  in  the  accomplishment  of  such  a  feat  by  an 
officer  of  our  navy,  who,  for  fourteen  years  of  the 
best  part  of  his  life,  has  exposed  himself  to  so  many 
dangers,  hardships,  and  privations  to  win  the  race 
for  the  pole. 


A  FRIENDLY  CONTEST  BETWEEN  THE  MID- 
NIGHT SUN  AND  THE  MOON 


Since  the  midnight  sun  has  converted  night  into 
day,  we  have  seen  nothing  of  the  lesser  lights  of 
heaven,  the  moon  and  stars,  until  one  o'clock  Sunday 
morning,  August  2oth.  In  the  meantime,  the  moon 
had  grown  to  half-size  and,  at  the  time  mentioned, 
appeared  as  a  very  pale  hemisphere,  however,  well 
outlined  in  the  horizon  above  the  sunlit  plateau  of 
one  of  the  mountains.  The  sun,  low  down  in  the 
horizon,  had  lost  some  of  his  midnight  brilliancy 
under  the  effect  of  the  feeble  light  of  the  moon. 

"The  sun  to  me  is  dark 
And  silent  as  the  moon, 
When  she  deserts  the  night 
Hid  in  her  vacant,  interlunar  cave." 
— Milton. 

Not  a  star  could  be  seen.  At  midnight,  the  sun 
and  moon  were  rivals  in  the  sky.  Fleecy  clouds, 
from  time  to  time,  veiled  the  face  now  of  the  sun, 
then  of  the  moon.  This  midnight  picture  was  a 
strange,  almost  supernatural  one.  Profound  silence 
reigned.  The  deck  of  the  "Erik"  was  deserted. 
The  Eskimos  and  crew,  with  the  exception  of  the 
watchman,  were  sleeping.  The  high  mountain  pla- 
teau was  bathed  in  golden  sunlight,  the  rays  of  the  Sun 
did  not  reach  the  more  somber  fiord.  The  smooth- 
ness of  the  water  was  only  disturbed  by  gentle  mur- 

269 


2 70     77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

muring  ripples,  silvered  by  the  dim  rays  of  the  rising 
moon.  On  the  surface  of  the  silvery  sheet  of  water 
was  seen  a  perfect  image  of  the  moon.  The  sun 
seemed  willing  to  retire  from  the  midnight  contest, 
but  could  not,  as  he  was  infixed  in  his  retiring  posi- 
tion by  the  force  of  the  immutable  law  which  controls 
the  movements  of  the  heavenly  bodies  from  the 
time  they  were  first  set  in  motion.  The  moon  was 
rising,  and  seemed  to  know  that  the  king  of  night 
and  day  would  soon  have  to  leave  to  her  the  reign 
during  the  approaching  long  winter  night,  when 
she  would  summon  to  her  aid,  in  dimly  lighting  the 
darkness,  myriads  of  the  brightest  stars.  It  was  a 
friendly  contest  between  the  receding,  enfeebled 
midnight  sun  and  the  ascending,  growing  moon 
which,  in  a  short  time,  according  to  the  very  nature 
of  things,  can  only  end  in  a  victory  of  the  moon  over 
the  sun,  the  weaker  over  the  stronger. 

"Incapable  of  change,  nature  still 
Recurs  to  her  old  habits." 

— Juvenalis. 


DECEPTION  OF  DISTANCES  IN  THE  ARCTIC 
REGION 


Any  one  who  has  visited  the  Rocky  Mountains 
has  been  made  aware  of  the  effect  of  the  purity 
and  rarity  of  the  air  on  vision.  The  eye  penetrates 
the  atmosphere  much  farther  there  than  in  the  east- 
ern and  middle  states,  where  the  air  is  more  dense 
and  contaminated  by  the  smoke  from  myriads  of 
chimneys  and  thousands  of  manufacturing  estab- 
lishments and  wandering  locomotives  and  steamers. 
It  is  the  arctic  regions,  however,  that  surprise  the 
eye  of  visitors  unaccustomed  to  the  absolute  purity 
of  the  air  in  that  part  of  the  world,  where  dust  and 
smoke  never  have  denied  it,  when  it  comes  to  meas- 
ure distances  by  eyesight. 

Doctor  Kane,  in  speaking  of  the  icebergs,  says: 
"In  the  estimate  of  both  altitude  and  horizontal 
distance,  the  iceberg  is  a  complete  puzzle.  I  have 
often  started  for  a  berg  seemingly  within  rifle  shot, 
and,  after  rowing  for  an  hour,  found  its  apparent 
position  unchanged." 

I  have  been  similarly  deceived  on  many  occasions. 
At  North  Star  Bay,  when  we  rounded  the  singular 
promontory  we  called  Noah's  Ark,  I  saw  an  almost 
continuous  chain  of  icebergs  hugging  the  east  shore. 
They  seemed  to  me  within  easy  range  of  my  Win- 
chester, but  it  took  three  hours  of  hard  rowing  to 
reach  them. 

271 


272     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  atmosphere  here  is  so  clear  and  pure  that  one 
not  accustomed  to  it  invariably  underestimates  dis- 
tances. Many  a  time,  in  walking  toward  a  selected 
point,  I  was  under  the  impression  I  could  reach 
it  in  fifteen  minutes,  when  it  took  me  more  than  an 
hour.  If  you  think  a  glacier  or  a  cliff  is  a  mile  away, 
you  will  learn  to  your  disappointment  before  you 
reach  it  that  you  have  walked  three  or  four  miles, 
if  not  more.  Ellesmere  Land,  twenty-three  miles 
away  from  Etah,  across  Smith  Sound,  looks  to  the 
inexperienced  observer  to  be  not  more  than  five  or 
six  miles  away.  This  deception  of  distances  is  a 
great  trial  to  the  hunter  who  follows  the  chase  for 
the  first  time  in  this  arctic  air.  Birds  which  he  con- 
siders within  easy  reach  of  his  gun  are  in  no  danger. 
He  returns,  as  I  did,  from  his  day's  sport  disgusted 
with  his  marksmanship  until  he  has  learned  to  accom- 
modate his  sight  to  an  entirely  new  atmosphere.  It 
is  advisable  for  the  hunter  to  do  some  target  shooting 
before  he  goes  for  game  to  avoid  the  inevitable 
chagrin  and  useless  waste  of  ammunition. 

THE  FALLACIES  OP  THE  COMPASS  IN  THE 
FAR  NORTH 

The  arctic  regions  have  their  beautiful  realities 
and  their  disappointing  deceptions.  They  are  try- 
ing places  for  the  navigators  and  hunters.  The 
mariner,  who  relies  on  his  compass  in  directing  him 
in  his  course,  must  exercise  great  caution  else  this 
instrument  of  precision  will  lead  him  astray.  In 
these  regions  the  compass  is  a  fidgety,  nervous  instru- 
ment. At  Etah  the  westward  deviation  of  the 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     273 

needle  in  the  direction  of  the  magnetic  pole  is  so 
strong  that  in  order  to  go  true  north  the  navigator, 
if  he  relies  on  the  instrument,  must  sail  southeast. 
This  fact  will  surprise  the  people  who  are  laboring 
under  the  mistaken  notion,  as  many  do,  that  the 
magnetic  pole  is  located  at  the  north  pole  and  that, 
consequently,  the  needle  always  points  due  north. 

Although  Captain  Ross  undoubtedly  discovered 
the  magnetic  pole  in  British  Columbia  in  1831,  we 
shall  know  more  about  it  after  the  report  of  Captain 
Amundson  is  made  public.  This  intrepid  explorer 
spent  nearly  a  year  in  the  vicinity  of  the  magnetic 
pole  and  his  observations  were  made  with  great 
accuracy  and  promise  to  be  of  the  greatest  scientific 
value. 


18 


THE  FLORA  IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE 
ARCTICS 


Most  of  the  people  think  of  Greenland  as  a  barren 
land  where  ice  and  snow  forbid  any  kind  of  vegeta- 
tion. The  visitor  who  sees  Greenland  for  the  first 
time  during  the  midsummer  is  surprised  to  find, 
notwithstanding  the  shortness  of  the  summer  and 
the  scantiness  of  the  soil,  a  rich  vegetation  and  a 
great  variety  of  flowers.  The  midnight  sun  does 
wonders  in  the  way  of  awakening  and  stimulating 
vegetation.  Vegetable  life  is  dormant  under  ice 
and  snow  for  nearly  eight  months  out  of  the  year; 
but,  with  the  appearance  of  the  midnight  sun,  an 
activity  begins  unparalleled  in  any  other  climate, 
and  in  a  few  weeks  seeds  sprout,  the  plant  develops 
with  magic  speed,  flowers,  and  ripens  its  seed  for  the 
next  year. 

The  country  is  treeless.  Vegetation  consists  of 
lichens,  mosses,  grasses,  herbs,  and  shrubs.  Minute 
flowerless  plants,  of  the  class  of  algae,  are  found 
growing  even  on  ice  and  snow,  where  the  detritus 
of  other  plants  has  accumulated  in  sufficient  quan- 
tity to  furnish  the  necessary  nourishment.  North 
Greenland  is  especially  very  rich  in  lichens,  of  which 
the  crimson  variety  (Leprarid)  is  the  most  beautiful. 
The  ordinary  mosses  serve  the  natives  a  useful  pur- 
pose for  packing  the  spaces  between  the  stones  of 
their  igloos  and  as  a  material  for  lamp  wicks.  The 

275 


276     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

most  useful  of  the  mosses  is  the  reindeer  moss  (Clad- 
onia  rangiferina) ,  as  it  is  the  principal  winter  food 
for  the  reindeer.  It  is  found  along  the  whole  coast 
of  Greenland.  It  is  of  a  silvery  white  color,  even  in 
summer.  It  contains  the  nutritious  lichenin,  a  form 
of  starch.  In  the  fiords  in  the  extreme  southwest 
of  Greenland,  birches  and  alders  attain  the  height  of 
a  man.  Few  of  the  shrubs  are  more  than  a  foot 
high  and  their  branches  touch  the  ground.  Dwarf 
alder  and  mountain  ash  grow  as  far  north  as  65°; 
the  juniper,  two  degrees  higher,  and  willow 
and  birch,  often  hidden  in  moss,  as  far  as  72°  north. 
I  find  the  willow  is  the  only  representative  shrub 
from  latitude  73°  to  78°  north,  and  only  in  a  dwarfed 
condition,  varying  in  height  from  one  inch  to  not 
more  than  eight  inches.  If  this  shrub  attains  more 
than  two  inches  in  height  it  is  always  found  reclining 
on  the  ground. 

The  flora  of  Greenland  embraces  about  400 
flowering  plants  and  several  hundred  varieties 
of  lichens  and  mosses.  The  flora  resembles  more 
that  of  Europe  than  of  the  American  continent.  I 
can  only  speak  of  the  flora  of  the  arctic  oasis,  extend- 
ing from  North  Star  Bay  to  Etah  along  the  west 
coast,  a  distance  of  about  235  miles,  inhabited  by 
the  Smith  Sound  Eskimos.  This  stretch  of  the 
coast  lies  between  73°  and  78°  40'  north  latitude. 
I  found  and  collected  here  the  following  plants: 

Caltha  palustris  Ranunculus  {  ^^ 

fCorymbosa 

Nivalis  Rumex  digynus 

Glacialis  Silene  acaulis 

Stettaria  longipes  Cerastium  alpinum 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     277 


Potentilla 


Pulchella 
Frigida 


Epilobium  augustifolium 
Taraxacum  palustre 
Pyrola  chloranta 


Papaver  nudicaule 
Carex  rigida 
Alchemilla  alpina 
Diapensia  laponica 
Cassiope  tetragona 

Of  grasses  I  found: 

Agrostis  canina 
Trisetum  subspicatum 


Sedum  rhodiola 
Vaccinium  uliginosum 

(Oppositifolia 
Nivalis 
Rivularis 

Andromeda  tetragona 
<?„,-    /  Herbacea 
Sahx  \Arctica 
Dryas  octopetala 
Cochlearia  fenestrata 
Gnaphalium  sylvaticum 


Poa 


/  Arctica 
\  Alpina 


The  variety  is  not  great,  but  when  we  consider 
that  these  plants  were  found  growing  very  near  the 
northern  limits  of  vegetation,  this  small  number 
must  astonish  the  uninitiated.  While  the  variety  is 
not  great,  their  number  was  something  extraordi- 
nary. In  many  sheltered  places  the  ground  was 
literally  covered  with  flowers,  making,  with  the 
soft,  green  grass,  a  variety  of  mosses,  and  the  ever- 
present  colored  lichens,  a  beautiful  carpet. 


ARCTIC  WOES 


The  heart  of  the  arctics  is  an  ideal  place  for  a 
summer  visit.  It  is,  at  best,  a  most  desolate,  dreary 
region  during  the  long  winter  night  when  deserted 
by  most  animals,  and  when  the  ground  is  covered  by 
several  feet  of  snow  and  the  fierce,  icy  winds  rake 
the  surface  without  mercy.  After  having  enjoyed 
the  beauties  of  the  far  north  during  the  most  con- 
genial season  of  the  year,  thoughts  of  the  sufferings 
of  many  arctic  expeditions  wintering  in  this  neigh- 
borhood occurred  to  me.  The  heart  of  the  arctics 
has  been  the  battle-field  of  the  explorers  with  ice, 
cold,  arctic  cyclones,  hunger,  and  disease,  and  is 
the  graveyard  of  many  a  brave  sailor.  It  is 
here  where  men's  patience,  courage,  and  persever- 
ance have  been  most  sorely  tried. 

The  "Polaris"  was  lost  in  Smith  Sound  not  far 
from  Etah.  It  was  at  Cape  Sabine,  in  sight  of  Etah, 
where  the  Greely  expedition  endured  the  hardships 
of  a  long  winter  night  and  fought  the  pangs  of  hun- 
ger and  endured  the  ravages  of  disease,  and  where 
many  of  the  crew  finally  succumbed  to  starvation. 
These  battle-fields  are  not  stained  with  blood,  but 
have  been  made  memorable  by  the  courage  and 
endurance  of  men  in  search,  not  for  wealth  and 
power,  but  engaged  in  scientific  pursuit  in  an  unsel- 
fish attempt  to  reach  the  remotest  part  of  the  world 
to  solve  the  mysteries  of  the  north  pole.  The  sad 

279 


28o     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

fate  of  the  "Polaris"  expedition  and  the  hardships  of 
expedition  of  Greely  's  will  furnish,  among  many  others, 
the  most  striking  illustrations  of  the  subject  of  this 
chapter,  familiar  to  most  readers,  but  of  sufficient 
importance  to  deserve  a  brief  repetition  here.  For 
more  minute  details  of  the  catastrophes  the  reader 
is  referred  to  Munsey's  Magazine,  1895. 

The  "Polaris,"  in  command  of  Captain  Hall,  in 
1872-73,  was  caught  in  the  ice  in  Baffin  Bay.  Ex- 
pecting that  any  moment  the  vessel  might  be  crushed, 
the  crew  encamped  beside  it  on  the  floes,  in  two 
parties.  Suddenly,  as  occasionally  happens,  the  ice 
broke  awTay,  and  one  party  found  itself  drifting  from 
the  ship  and  their  companions,  who  were  powerless 
to  give  them  any  aid.  In  the  strong  current  of  the 
bay,  the  ice-raft,  with  its  freight  of  human  beings, 
floated  away  from  the  Greenland  shore.  Gradually, 
as  it  traveled  to  the  south,  the  ice  melted  and  the 
waves  broke  it  up  into  smaller  fields,  necessitating 
its  passengers,  from  time  to  time,  selecting  a  new 
and  smaller  floe.  The  people  on  the  ice  numbered 
more  than  thirty,  among  them  some  Eskimos,  in- 
cluding two  women  and  several  children.  A  child 
was  born  during  the  memorable  voyage.  This  child 
is  now  the  mother  of  several  children  and  lives  in  one 
of  the  settlements  of  the  Smith  Sound  Eskimos. 
Her  father,  called  Hans,  a  familiar  figure  to  a  number 
of  explorers  and  known  for  his  ability  as  a  guide 
and  hunter  and  for  his  trustworthiness,  has  since 
died. 

This  extraordinary  voyage  began  on  the  i$th  of 
October  and  ended  on  the  29th  of  April  following, 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     281 

when  the  passengers  were  rescued  near  the  coast  of 
Labrador  by  a  sealer.  In  a  half -starved  condition, 
the  people  were  brought  to  St.  Johns,  Newfoundland. 
The  ice-floe  had  carried  them  nearly  2,000  miles. 
The  physical  suffering  and  mental  agony  of  these 
people  can  be  better  imagined  than  described.  When 
they  were  taken  on  board  the  sealer,  all  that  was  left 
for  them  to  eat  was  a  bear  skin,  which  was  cut  into 
strips  and  chewed  for  what  nutritious  material  it 
contained.  The  crew  of  the  Greely  expedition  fared 
even  worse  than  this. 

It  had  been  planned  that  the  object  of  this  ex- 
pedition should  be  to  establish  an  observation  sta- 
tion in  Greenland,  one  of  a  chain  to  be  maintained 
as  near  as  possible  to  the  pole  by  several  govern- 
ments. The  expedition  sailed  in  1881,  and  the  fol- 
lowing summer  supplies  were  to  be  sent,  and  in  1883, 
after  two  years'  work,  the  party  was  to  be  brought 
back.  The  plans  miscarried.  The  first  relief  ex- 
pedition, under  Beebe,  failed  to  reach  Greely 's  post. 
A  second  was  equally  unsuccessful.  The  third  relief 
party,  under  Commander  Schley,  started  at  the 
earliest  possible  moment  in  1884. 

It  was  believed  that  Greely 's  provisions  would 
have  failed  him,  and  that  he  would  have  attempted 
to  escape  southward.  A  careful  watch  was  kept 
along  the  shores  of  Smith  Strait,  and  in  June,  at  an 
old  cache,  a  record  was  found  which  contained  the 
information  that  in  October,  eight  months  before, 
Greely  made  his  headquarters  at  Cape  Sabine.  The 
rescuing  party  made  haste  and  reached  the  post 
June  23rd.  They  met  with  a  most  appalling  sight. 


282     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

When  winter  overtook  Greely's  party,  their  pro- 
visions were  nearly  exhausted.  The  fight  for  life 
was  a  desperate  one.  In  spite  of  the  most  discour- 
aging outlook,  discipline  was  maintained,  observa- 
tions were  taken  regularly,  and  the  commander 
encouraged  his  men  by  word  and  deed.  Gradually 
one  after  another  died.  At  the  end  of  winter,  the 
survivors  were  too  weak  to  move.  They  had  not 
strength  left  to  bury  the  dead — not  even,  in 
the  last  days,  to  remove  the  dead  from  the  tent, 
which  had  partly  collapsed,  and  none  were  strong 
enough  to  raise  it.  Seven  were  still  alive,  barely 
alive,  when  help  came.  Eighteen  had  perished. 
Another  two  days  would  have  sealed  the  fate  of  all. 
The  brave  commander  was  one  of  the  survivors,  and, 
when  found,  said  in  a  faint  voice:  "Here  we  are  dying 
like  men.  Did  what  I  came  to  do — beat  the  best 
record." 

The  terrible  fate  of  the  Sir  John  Franklin  expedi- 
tion, although  it  occurred  more  than  half  a  century 
ago,  remains  fresh  in  the  minds  of  the  people.  Not 
a  member  of  the  different  crews  survived  to  tell  the 
story  of  the  expedition,  and  it  required  the  expendi- 
ture of  many  fortunes  and  years  of  perilous  search- 
ing before  the  bleached  skeletons  of  a  number  of 
members  of  the  expedition  were  found,  under  cir- 
cumstances that  proved,  only  too  plainly,  that  death 
had  come  to  them  from  starvation.  Although, 
according  to  the  statement  of  Commander  Peary, 
the  total  mortality  of  all  expeditions  to  the  arctic 
regions  does  not  exceed  two  per  cent.,  it  would  be 
difficult  to  estimate  the  amount  of  suffering  endured 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     283 

by  those  who  were  obliged  to  spend  one  or  more 
winters  in  that  land  of  desolation  and  darkness, 
utterly  cut  off  from  any  communication,  and  thrown 
on  their  -own  resources. 

In  consequence  of  a  long  experience,  recent  ex- 
peditions have  been  fitted-  out  in  a  way  to  prevent 
many  discomforts  and  much  suffering.  But  such 
undertakings  cannot  be  carried  out  without  much 
self-denial  and  an  amount  of  courage  that  would  do 
credit  to  a  well-tempered  veteran  soldier. 


APPROACH  OF  WINTER 


Although  the  weather,  during  our  ten  days*  so- 
journ in  Foulke  Fiord,  was  all  that  possibly  could 
be  desired,  I  observed,  during  the  last  few  days, 
unmistakable  indications  of  the  approach  of  winter 
in  the  speedy  fading  of  all  flowers  and  in  the  yellow 
discoloration  of  the  grass  in  the  most  sheltered 
localities.  The  little  pools  of  water  on  the  high 
mountain  plateaus  became  covered  with  a  thin  sheet 
of  ice  during  the  night,  and  icicles  formed  on  the 
edges  of  crags,  over  which  the  water  flowed  in  mini- 
ature cataracts. 

But  an  earlier  notice  of  the  coming  of  winter 
was  given  by  the  best  and  most  reliable  weather 
prophet,  the  little  auk.  For  several  days  millions 
of  these  birds,  in  endless  flocks,  sailed  over  the  fiord, 
high  up  in  the  air  near  the  clouds,  in  a  southerly 
direction.  I  mistrusted  that  the  southward  migra- 
tion had  commenced.  I  went  to  the  rookeries, 
where  a  few  days  before,  the  cliffs  were  literally  cov- 
ered with  auks,  and  found  them  almost  entirely 
deserted.  The  young  generation  had  learned  to 
fly,  and  joined  their  parents  on  their  flight  to  a 
warmer  climate.  This  shrewd  bird  of  the  far  North 
had  timely  knowledge  of  the  approaching  snow-storm 
and  escaped  it.  by  seeking  a  warmer  clime. 

285 


286     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  common  guillemot  (Cepphus  grylle),  the  blue 
gull  (Larus  glaucus),  and  the  burgomaster  (Lestris 
parasitica,  Buffonii)  remained  in  large  numbers  and 
the  little  snow-buntings  (Emberiza  and  Plectrophanes) 
twittered  about  the  bare  rocks  on  the  mountain 
plateaus  as  gaily  as  during  midsummer,  without  a 
thought  of  escaping  the  first  snowfall.  This  little 
bird  is  one  of  the  last  to  leave  the  arctic  regions,  and 
one  of  the  first  to  return.  The  most  patriotic  of  all 
arctic  birds,  is,  however,  the  raven.  This  bird, 
alone,  scorns  to  change  either  color  or  climate.  The 
Greenland  raven  is  a  magnificent  specimen  of  bird 
life,  and  how  it  survives  the  long,  dark,  arctic  winter 
is  a  mystery.  I  was  fortunate  enough  to  secure  a 
fine  specimen  in  Foulke  Fiord  just  before  our  de- 
parture. 


HOMEWARD  BOUND 


We  left  Etah,  Wednesday,  August  23d,  at  5:45 
P.  M.  The  increase  of  the  ice-clouds  over  the  water- 
clouds  to  the  north  and  west  above  Smith  Sound, 
the  formation  of  ice  in  elevated  places,  and  the  ap- 
pearance of  a  snow-storm,  admonished  our  captain 
of  the  necessity  of  leaving  this  high  latitude  to  avoid 
the  risk  of  being  caught  in  pack-ice,  in  spite  of  the 
fact  that  about  200  tons  of  coal,  intended  for  the 
Peary  expedition,  remained  in  the  hold  of  the  ship. 
This  coal  served  as  ballast  for  the  ship  on  the  return 
trip,  and  saved  the  time  that  would  have  been  re- 
quired in  substituting  stone  ballast  for  it. 

When  the  ship  left  her  anchorage  under  full 
steam,  the  Eskimos  were  standing  on  the  shore  in  a 
group  in  front  of  their  tents,  surrounded  by  their 
dogs,  and  remained  motionless  until  we  were  out  of 
sight.  Only  the  bride  of  a  day  climbed  up  an  adja- 
cent cliff,  stood  for  a  short  time  like  a  statue,  and 
then  scampered  down  the  steep  rocky  decline  and 
ran  in  the  direction  of  the  settlement.  What  will 
become  of  these  poor  people  during  the  long  winter 
so  near  at  hand?  God  only  knows!  Their  clothing 
was  scanty  and  well  worn,  their  fur  supply  entirely 
inadequate,  and  the  provisions  almost  exhausted. 
There  remained  only  two  or  three  first-class  hunters. 
The  remainder  of  the  settlement  was  made  up  of 
old  men,  women,  children,  and  several  infants. 

287 


288     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  walrus  had  left  this  part  of  the  coast,  and 
only  very  few  seal  remained.  The  supply  of  ammu- 
nition for  the  two  or  three  old  carbines  was  small, 
and  it  was  too  late  for  the  netting  of  birds.  Fortu- 
nately there  are  plenty  of  arctic  hare  in  this  vicinity, 
and  the  natives  secure  them  in  stone  traps  and  re- 
serve the  ammunition  for  larger  game.  The  recon- 
struction of  the  stone  igloos  had  not  commenced 
when  we  left,  as  the  natives  prefer  to  live  in  tents 
until  the  severe  cold  and  snow  force  them  into  their 
winter  quarters. 

The  first  night  out  a  severe  snow-storm  overtook 
us,  which  made  it  necessary  to  leave  the  Greenland 
coast  and  depend  on  the  unreliable  compass  as  a  guide 
in  directing  the  course  of  the  vessel.  During  the 
evening,  we  had  a  fine  near  view  of  the  dreary 
coast  of  Ellesmere  Land,  in  full  view  of  Cape 
Isabella,  and  in  the  distance  we  could  make  out 
distinctly,  with  the  aid  of  glasses,  Cape  Sabine. 
Ellesmere  Land  is  buried  under  ice  and  snow  through- 
out the  entire  year,  with  the  exception  of  some  of 
the  cliffs  along  the  coast  and  the  black,  bare  moun- 
tain peaks  that  project  high  above  the  level  of  the 
billowy  ocean  of  ice,  which  the  warmth  of  the  mid- 
night sun  uncovers  for  a  short  time  during  the  sum- 
mer. Some  of  the  mountains  in  the  interior  appear 
to  be  very  high,  at  least  from  4,000  to  5,000  feet 
above  the  level  of  the  sea.  The  numerous  bare, 
black  peaks  appeared  like  so  many  pyramids  on  a 
foundation  of  eternal  ice.  The  evening  sun  peeped 
from  time  to  time  through  the  fleecy,  golden  clouds, 
and  his  soft,  slanting  rays  smiled  upon  this  stern,  un- 


77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     289 

inviting  domain  of  ice,  snow,  and  black  rocks,  pro- 
ducing a  strange,  almost  weird,  illumination  pleasing 
to  the  eye  from  a  distance,  but  forbidding  on  nearer 
approach.  The  very  breath  from  this  land  of  ice 
chilled  the  atmosphere  and  reminded  us  of  the  ter- 
rors of  the  climate  of  the  farthest  North.  This  coast, 
so  freely  exposed  to  the  winds  from  the  polar  region, 
is  much  colder  than  the  west  coast  of  Greenland, 
the  climate  of  which  is  moderated  by  the  indirect 
Gulf  Stream  from  the  south.  This  is  why  most  of 
the  explorers  make  their  winter  quarters  at  or  near 
Etah,  and  not  at  Cape  Sabine  on  the  opposite  side 
of  Smith's  Sound. 

The  whole  aspect  of  Ellesmere  Land  reminds 
one  of 

"Fierce  Boreas,  with  his  offspring,  issues  forth 

T'  invade  the  frosty  wagon  of  the  North.'! 

— Dryden. 
and 

"Liest  thou  asleep  beneath  those  hills  of  snow? 

Stretch  out  thy  lazy  limbs;  awake,  awake! 
And  winter  from  thy  furry  mantle  shake." 

— Dryden. 

Toward  morning,  the  snow-storm  subsided,  the 
atmosphere  cleared  up,  and,  on  our  way  to  Godhavn, 
we  saw  much  of  the  coast  of  Greenland  after  Elles- 
mere Land  was  out  of  sight.  The  Greenland  coast, 
south  of  Etah,  is  a  range  of  table  mountains,  varying 
little  in  height,  intersected  by  fiords  and  ravines, 
most  of  them  beds  of  glaciers,  large  and  small,  leaders 
of  the  great  interior  ice-cap,  the  silvery  surface  of 
which  is  almost  constantly  in  sight  from  the  deck  of 
the  steamer  when  a  few  miles  out. 

19 


29o     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  first  night  and  day  out  from  Etah,  we  en- 
countered numerous  icebergs,  all  of  them  showing 
the  effects  of  the  summer  sun,  the  melting  rays  of 
which,  combined  with  the  erosive  action  of  the 
waves,  had  sculptured  them  into  most  fantastic 
forms.  These  colossal  masses  of  pure  ice  have  a 
rectilinear  groove  at  the  water  line,  hollowed  out  by 
the  action  of  the  waves,  their  tunnel-like  roofs  often 
pendent  with  icicles.  The  thawing  action  of  the 
sun  had  worn  away  the  brilliant  fractured  surfaces, 
changing  the  whole  mass  into  a  color  of  frosted  silver. 
Doctor  Kane  says:  "An  iceberg  is  one  of  God's 
own  buildings,  preaching  its  lesson  of  humility  to 
the  miniature  structures  of  man."  Any  one  who 
has  seen  the  great  army  of  icebergs  sailing  along 
the  coast  of  Greenland  will  indorse  this  beautiful 
sentiment. 

Many  of  these  giants  were  in  a  state  of  far  ad- 
vanced disintegration,  and  the  surface  of  the  water 
was  covered  with  their  mangled  remains.  Many  of 
the  survivors  showed  cracks  and  fissures,  several 
feet  in  width,  ready  at  any  moment  to  break  up  into 
,a  thousand  fragments,  an  occurrence  which  we  had 
an  opportunity  to  witness  a  number  of  times,  by  a 
thundering  noise  and  much  splashing  and  foaming 
at  the  seat  of  disaster.  With  a  thundering  detona- 
tion, the  fracture  or  parting  of  the  main  mass  takes 
place,  followed  by  sharp  reports  caused  by  the  break- 
ing up  of  these  colossal  fragments  into  smaller  ones. 
A  part  of  the  iceberg  remains  and  sways  like  a  ship 
in  a  storm,  while  the  detached  masses  fall  in  all  di- 
rections, sending  splashing,  foam-crested  waves  high 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     291 

up  into  the  air  from  the  places  where  they  momen- 
tarily disappear  under  the  water  and  where  they 
rise  to  the  surface  again.  In  a  few  minutes,  this 
local  commotion  in  the  water  is  followed  by  a  calm, 
and  the  astonished  observer  finds  the  foam-covered 
surface  strewn  with  fragments  of  all  sizes  and  shapes 
and  what  remains  of  the  iceberg,  slowly  on  the  way 
of  finding  its  new  balance,  reminding  one  very  much 
of  the  floating  wreck  of  a  ship. 

Thursday  morning,  at  eight  o'clock,  we  passed 
Carey  Islands.  The  weather  was  chilly,  the  sky 
overcast  with  swiftly  moving  gray  clouds,  and  dur- 
ing the  forenoon,  and  again  in  the  evening,  we  had 
quite  a  severe  snow-storm,  with  biting  winds,  in 
consequence  of  which  the  thermometer  dropped  to 
35°  F.  As  we  entered  Melville  Bay  in  the  evening, 
we  left  the  icebergs  behind  us  and  saw  no  traces  of 
pack-ice.  In  crossing  the  bay  we  were  two  days 
out  of  sight  of  land. 


MENTAL  INDIGESTION 


"I  'gin  to  be  aweary  of  the  sun." — Shakespeare. 

All  pleasures  in  this  world  are  of  short  duration. 
Not  infrequently,  anticipation  affords  more  pleasure 
than  the  reality.  The  mind,  like  the  stomach,  has 
its  likes  and  dislikes,  its  periods  of  activity  and  re- 
pose, its  pleasures  and  ailments,  its  hunger  and 
thirst,  and  sense  of  satiation.  The  stomach  soon 
tires  of  the  most  delicate  articles  of  food  if  indulged 
in  day  after  day.  Who  is  there  who  can  enjoy,  for 
any  length  of  time,  the  delicious  speckled  trout  or 
the  savory  quail  on  toast,  if  eaten. daily?  It  requires 
a  vigorous  and  patient  stomach  to  enjoy  such  culi- 
nary treats  for  more  than  two  or  three  days  in  succes- 
sion. The  active  mind  must  be  given  a  variety  of 
mental  food  to  guard  against  indigestion.  The 
mental  appetite  is  as  capricious  as  that  of  the  stom- 
ach, and,  to  keep  it  in  a  good,  healthy  condition,  it 
must  be  provided  with  food  it  can  digest  and  assim- 
ilate. A  monotony,  an  exclusiveness  in  mental  diet, 
is  as  repugnant  to  the  mind  as  a  sameness  of  food  is 
to  the  stomach.  Variety  of  food  and  congenial 
employment  is  what  mind  and  body  crave  for,  and 
on  which  they  thrive. 

When  I  was  in  Egypt  and  the  Holy  Land,  the 
camel  was  to  me  the  most  interesting  of  all  animals. 
It  was  something  new  to  me.  It  is  a  homely  beast, 
but  when  a  caravan  came  in  sight  I  could  not  keep 

293 


294     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

my  eyes  off  of  these  patient  carriers  of  burden, 
these  ships  of  the  desert.  At  first  I  saw  the  sunny 
side  of  this,  to  me,  new  animal.  As  days  and  weeks 
passed  by,  the  camel  lost  its  charms  for  me.  By 
that  time,  I  noticed  more  the  anterior  surface  of  its 
chafed,  and  often  bleeding  knees,  the  grunting,  and 
labored  getting  up  and  lying  down  in  slow  response 
to  the  urging  of  the  unfeeling  driver.  I  have  no 
desire  to  see  camels  again. 

In  the  tropics,  I  was  fascinated  by  the  graceful, 
feathery  palms,  with  their  clusters  of  golden,  oily, 
giant  nuts.  I  was,  also,  deeply  interested  in  the 
natives,  their  customs,  and  habits.  But  in  a  few 
weeks,  all  these  things  had  lost  their  attractions  and 
I  was  longing  for  our  shady  elms  and  maples,  and 
for  people  decently  dressed  and  busy  in  doing  some- 
thing good  for  themselves  or  for  somebody  else. 

I  have  seen  the  glaciers  of  the  Swiss  Alps,  Alaska, 
and  Norway,  playthings  compared  with  those  of 
Greenland;  hence  my  interest  in  these  rivers  of  ice 
was  reawakened  when  brought  face  to  face  with 
these  almost  constant  features  of  the  arctic  Alps. 
But  in  the  course  of  a  few  short  weeks,  they  all 
looked  alike  to  me  and  were  passed  by  without 
giving  them  the  attention  their  picturesque  grandeur 
and  beauty  deserved.  The  same  is  true  of  icebergs, 
such  a  novel  sight  at  first;  but  it  does  not  take  long 
for  this  sense  of  novelty  to  wear  away.  When  we 
see  them  by  the  hundreds  and  thousands,  day 
after  day  and  week  after  week,  we  soon  give  them 
but  a  passing  glance,  as  though  we  had  lived  among 
them  since  our  childhood  days. 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     295 

It  is  a  rare  privilege  to  see  the  midnight  sun.  I 
saw  him  in  all  his  glory  from  the  summit  of  North 
Cape,  Norway,  but  was  delighted,  yes,  charmed,  to 
see  him  again  in  another  part  of  the  world,  much 
nearer  the  north  pole,  in  a  new  frame  and  shining 
upon  an  arctic  foreground.  Night  after  night,  I 
studied  and  admired  the  pictures  he  painted  on  land 
and  sea,  clouds,  rocks,  ice,  and  snow,  exquisite  arctic 
panoramas  which  enchant  the  soul.  But  the  mid- 
night sun  has  his  detractions  as  well  as  attractions. 
He  changes  the  regular  order  of  daily  affairs  by 
transforming  night  into  day.  For  more  than  a 
month  we  have  been  having 

"The  live-long  day," — Shakespeare. 

A  whole  month  of  continuous  daylight  and  sun- 
shine is  well  calculated  to  unsettle  the  customary 
habits  of  a  person  coming  from  a  part  of  the  world 
in  which  the  midnight  sun  never  makes  his  appear- 
ance. The  continuous  daylight  makes  it  almost 
impossible  to  distinguish  between  the  time  set  aside 
for  work  and  rest — and  one  finds  it  difficult  to  make 
out  whether  he  is  going  to  breakfast,  dinner,  or  supper, 
and  without  the  use  of  a  printed  timekeeper  one  is 
apt  to  lose  track  of  the  days  of  the  week  and  the 
day  set  aside  for  rest.  The  midnight  sun  is  a  spur, 
a  goad  which  is  applied  to  man  and  beast  to  be 
about,  wide-awake,  at  work.  He  chases  away  sleep; 
he  hates  sleep.  He  is  laboring  under  the  firm  con- 
viction that  while  he  reigns  in  the  arctic  regions  it 
is  the  time  for  work  and  not  for  sleep.  He  is  deter- 
mined that  nature  and  man  should  rest  and  sleep 
during  his  long  absence. 


296     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  Creator  intended  day  for  work;  night  for 
rest  and  sleep.  In  the  arctic  regions,  a  restful, 
natural  sleep  is  out  of  the  question  as  long  as  the 
midnight  sun  is  the  sole  master  of  the  firmament. 
Try  and  create  an  artificial  night  by  excluding  light 
and  it  remains  daylight  as  far  as  sleep  is  concerned. 
Close  your  eyes  and  the  light  of  the  midnight  sun 
penetrates  the  eyelids  and  will  keep  you  awake. 

Doctor  Kane,  the  famous  explorer,  has  this  to 
say  of  the  prolonged  effects  of  the  midnight  sun : 

"The  perpetual  light,  garish  and  unfluctuating, 
disturbed  me.  I  became  gradually  aware  of  an  un- 
known excitant,  a  stimulus,  acting  constantly,  like 
the  diminutive  of  a  cup  of  strong  coffee.  My  sleep 
was  curtailed  and  irregular;  my  meal  hours  trod 
upon  each  other's  heels — and,  but  for  stringent 
regulations  of  my  own  imposing,  my  routine  would 
have  been  completely  broken  up." 

I  can  now  say,  after  having  contemplated  with 
admiration  the  midnight  sun  for  a  month  by  day  and 
the  greater  part  of  the  sunlit  nights, 

"I  'gin  to  be  aweary  of  the  sun." 
and  add,  with  a  longing  heart  and  earnest  wish: 

"Come,  civil  night, 

Thou  sober- smiled  matron,  all  in  black.". 
— Shakespeare. 

I  loved  the  midnight  sun  on  my  hunting  trips 
because  he  set  no  limit  to  the  time  for  return;  but 
after  my  return,  sometimes  nearly  at  midnight, 
weary  and  in  need  of  rest,  he  kept  me  awake,  or,  at 
least,  would  permit  only  short  naps  tinged  with 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     297 

dreams  of  real  or  imaginary  things.  Last  night, 
August  24th,  we  could  have  seen  the  midnight  sun 
for  the  last  time  had  the  frosty,  snow-laden  clouds 
not  hidden  his  parting  glance. 

Tonight,  at  midnight,  there  will  be  twilight  for 
a  brief  space  of  time,  while  the  horizon  in  the  east 
and  in  the  west,  so  near  to  each  other  at  this  time 
and  in  this  latitude,  will  be  effulgent  with  the  rays  of 
the  setting  and  the  rising  sun.  This  twilight  will  soon 
grow  into  a  welcome  night  as  we  journey  southward, 
and  we  are  as  anxiously  looking  for  the  somber  night 
as  we  were  for  the  midnight  sun  on  our  upward  trip. 
When  it  does  come,  we  may  expect  what  we  have 
missed  for  a  month: 

"The  timely  dew  of  sleep."— Milton. 

At  midnight,  the  sky  presented  a  beautiful  sight, 
The  darkness  was  sufficient  to  make  it  necessary  to 
supply  artificial  light  for  the  compass  to  enable  the 
man  at  the  steering  gear  to  keep  the  ship  in  correct 
course.  For  the  first  time  in  weeks,  the  lamps  in 
the  dining  room  were  lit.  During  the  evening,  the 
sun  was  hidden  behind  a  bank  of  clouds  in  the  north, 
stretching  from  east  to  west.  In  the  center  of  this 
dark  veil,  at  a  point  corresponding  with  the  location 
of  the  sun,  great  transverse  streaks,  the  color  of  new 
gold,  decorated  the  sky;  later,  as  the  clouds  moved 
lazily  northward,  their  free  margins  became  fringed 
with  a  border  of  gold,  while  in  the  east  and  west  a 
rosy  tint  extended  far  beyond  the  margins  of  the 
clouds,  familiar  pictures  in  the  sky,  announcing  the 
setting  and  rising  of  the  sun.  The  remaining  part 


298     77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

of  the  sky  was  painted  a  very  pale  blue,  and  only 
here  and  there  partly  obscured  by  fleecy,  fleeting 
clouds  sailing  through  the  lower  strata  of  the  air. 

At  eleven  o'clock,  I  saw  the  moon  in  the  north- 
east in  the  form  of  a  crescent  of  old  gold.  Two 
bright,  sparkling  stars  accompanied  the  queen  of  the 
new-born  night. 

"The  stars  hung  bright  above, 
Silent,  as  if  they  watch'd  the  sleeping  earth." 

— Carlyle. 

The  somber,  dark,  gold-fringed  bank  of  clouds 
that  veiled  the  dying  midnight  sun,  with  the  delicate 
pale  blue  sky  in  the  foreground,  the  golden  sickle  of 
the  moon,  and  the  two  stars  accompanying  her  in 
the  freshness  and  brilliancy  of  their  youth,  only 
partly  obscured  from  time  to  time  as  the  thin,  trans- 
parent sheets  of  fugitive  clouds  raced  over  them,  was 
a  picture  that  only  nature  can  paint,  and  only  under 
extraordinary  circumstances,  when  the  three  lights  of 
heaven  co-operate  in  harmony. 

Early  in  the  morning  of  Saturday,  August  26th, 
we  were  again  in  sight  of  the  stern,  rugged  coast  of 
Greenland,  after  having  crossed  Melville  Bay.  The 
weather  continues  ideal  for  this  latitude;  a  gentle 
breeze  from  the  south  just  sufficient  to  impart  to  the 
"Erik"  a  soothing,  rocking  motion.  If  it  were  not 
for  the  chilly  wind,  overcoats  would  be  superfluous. 
The  foothills  of  the  coast  range  of  mountains  appear 
here,  in  the  form  of  numerous  small  islands  all  along 
the  coast. 


ISOLATION  OF  THE  SMITH  SOUND 
ESKIMOS 

We  are  now  opposite  Upernavik,  until  now  the 
most  northern  of  the  Danish  settlements,  and  hope 
to  reach  Godhavn  tomorrow  (Sunday)  morning.  As 
we  come  nearer  these  settlements,  I  appreciate,  more 
and  more,  the  isolation  of  the  northern  part  of  the 
west  coast  of  Greenland,  inhabited  by  the  Smith 
Sound  Eskimos.  These  people  have  only  a  very 
faint  idea  of  the  world  beyond.  The  only  informa- 
tion, out  of  reach  of  their  vision  and  beyond  their 
limited  travel,  has  come  to  them  through  the  ships 
of  the  explorers  and  an  occasional  whaler.  I  found 
only  one  Eskimo  who  had  made  a  trip  over  land  and 
ice  as  far  as  Upernavik,  where  he  traded  fur  for  a 
cheap  muzzle-loading  shot-gun,  an  undertaking  of 
which  he  feels  proud. 

These  Eskimos  have  lived  here,  undoubtedly,  for 
centuries,  before  they  were  discovered  by  the  ex- 
plorers, completely  isolated  from  the  Eskimos  of 
Southern  Greenland  and  on  the  American  continent. 
They  know  nothing  about  mail,  printing-press, 
money,  telegraph,  or  telephone,  and  their  knowledge 
of  things  is  confined  to  what  they  see  and  hear  in 
their  narrow  sphere  of  life.  And  yet  they  consider 
themselves  as  the  people,  Innuit,  and  the  whites  as 
strangers,  Kablunah.  Attempts  to  tell  them  some- 
thing of  the  men  and  things  in  the  great  world 

299 


300     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

beyond  their  vision  have  not  ^always  succeeded  in  con- 
vincing their  simple  minds  of  the  truth  of  the  state- 
ments. One  man  told  them  that  in  some  of  our 
great  cities  inhabited  by  millions  of  people,  more 
than  twenty-one  igloos  were  built  one  on  top  of  the 
other,  and  all  of  them  occupied,  making  a  great  igloo 
as  high  as  some  of  their  mountains.  Another  one 
told  them  about  talking  over  a  wire  thousands  of 
miles  and  the  speed  of  our  railways.  These  stories 
were  listened  to  with  childish  interest,  but  the  men 
who  told  them  lost  their  reputation  for  veracity  for- 
ever among  the  Eskimos.  Think  of  a  country  where 
there  is  nothing  to  read,  to  which  there  is  no  access, 
and  from  which  there  is  no  escape,  except  every  year 
or  two  by  a  tramp  whaler,  or  an  occasional  vessel  of 
an  explorer,  and  you  will  have  some  idea  of  the 
solitude  and  extent  of  isolation  of  the  heart  of  the 
arctic  region. 

In  calling  at  Godhavn  on  our  return  trip,  we  feel 
that;  we  will  soon  be  again  in  the  outskirts  of  civil- 
ization, although  we  do  not  expect  that  a  lighthouse 
will  guide  us  in  finding  the  harbor,  or  to  hear  from 
home,  for  even  here  the  people  must  be  content 
with  three  mails  a  year.  What  a  sense  of  relief  and 
satisfaction  the  arctic  explorer  must  experience, 
when,  after  an  absence  of  a  year  or  two,  he  reaches 
this  outpost  of  civilization. 

Prolonged  isolation  in  a  remote  part  of  the  world, 
excluded  from  the  influences  of  civilization  and  one 
of  its  greatest  blessings — the  press,  is  productive 
of  mental  starvation  of  which  there  is  no  better 
proof  than  the  lives  and  habits  of  the  Eskimos  living 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     301 

north  of  the  Danish  settlements.  A  prolonged  stay 
in  that  severe  climate,  aggravated  by  the  long  winter 
nights,  must  have  a  depressing  influence  on  the 
minds  and  bodies  of  the  men  who  venture  to  go  there 
in  search  of  the  pole.  The  mind  of  more  than  one 
man  has  been  upset  under  these  trying  conditions 
of  arctic  life.  Even  the  Eskimos,  habituated  to  the 
climate  and  the  conditions  it  creates,  not  infrequently 
become  nervous  and  hysterical  toward  the  end  of 
winter,  after  having  suffered  in  body  and  mind  the 
baneful  consequences  of  prolonged  confinement, 
where 

"The' night  is  long  that  never  finds  the  day.". 

— Shakespeare. 


OMENAK  FIORD 


Omenak  Fiord  is  one  of  the  great  fiords  of  the 
west  coast  of  Greenland.  It  is  a  wide,  almost  bay- 
like,  inland  arm  of  the  sea,  eighty  miles  in  length, 
and  the  center  of  a  magnificent  Alpine  scenery. 
Near  the  head  of  the  fiord  is  Omenak  Island,  the 
seat  of  an  old  Danish  settlement  of  considerable 
importance.  The  coast  north  of  Omenak  Fiord  is 
made  up  of  a  high,  precipitous  mountain  mesa,  with 
numerous  little  islands  in  the  foreground.  Some 
distance  north  of  the  fiord,  the  shore  presents  an 
entirely  different  aspect.  The  mainland,  here,  breaks 
up  into  high,  sharp-peaked,  snow  and  ice-clad  moun- 
tains. Beyond  the  innumerable  cones,  wrapped  in 
their  draperies  of  silver,  rises  the  great  inland  ice- 
cap. At  five  o'clock  in  the  evening,  when  we  neared 
Omenak  Fiord,  the  sky  was  overcast,  the  great 
expanse  of  water  to  the  west  appeared  dark  and 
gloomy  while  the  sun  lit  up  the  sea  of  ice  and  the 
countless  mountains  in  the  foreground.  The  re- 
flection of  the  rays  of  the  sun  from  the  ice  and  snow 
made  colors  in  gold,  silver,  and  alabaster;  and  in 
many  places  the  new  ice  glittered  like  diamonds. 

We  were  here  given  a  splendid  opportunity  to 
compare,  once  more,  the  water-clouds  with  the  ice- 
blink. The  clouds  hovering  over  the  open  water 
were  dark,  almost  black;  those  over  the  great  inland 
ice  almost  white,  with  a  slight  tinge  of  brownish  gray. 

303 


3o4     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

The  north  coast  of  Omenak  Fiord  resembles  very 
much,  in  its  configuration,  the  wild  chaos  of  peaks 
and  crags  of  the  Swiss  and  Tyrolean  Alps,  viewed 
from  a  high  point  of  observation.  It  presents  a 
real  Alpine  scenery  on  a  grand  scale.  In  crossing 
the  fiord,  we  were  again  among  prodigious  icebergs. 
Omenak  Fiord  is  the  most  remarkable  locality,  in 
the  production  of  icebergs,  on  the  face  of  the  globe. 
Doctor  Kane  has  seen  here  floating  mountains  of 
ice  200  feet  high;  and  if  we  estimate,  as  he  did,  that 
the  submerged  part  of  the  berg  is  seven  times  greater 
than  that  above  the  water,  we  obtain  a  more  defi- 
nite idea  of  the  immensity  of  these  wandering  frag- 
ments of  the  glaciers  which  reach  this  bay. 

Next  morning,  Sunday,  August  2yth,  we  were 
sailing  along  the  west  coast  of  Disco  Island.  A 
cloudy  sky  and  drizzling  rain  made  it  difficult  to 
identify  the  landmarks  of  the  coast,  which  serve  as 
guides  to  the  little  harbor  of  Godhavn. 


DISCO  ISLAND 


Disco  is  a  large  island  in  the  bay  of  the  same 
name.  As  Peary  said  of  Saunder's  Island,  I  can 
say  of  this  one,  it  looks  like  "a  Titan  agate  set  in 
lapis  lazuli."  Its  inland  ice-cap,  numerous  small 
glaciers,  deep  fiords,  precipitous,  inland,  snow-clad 
mountains,  and  the  army  of  icebergs  surrounding  it, 
and  reflecting  a  lazulite  blue,  make  up  a  picture  of 
exquisite  beauty  and  majestic  grandeur.  For  miles, 
the  coast  of  this  island,  near  Godhavn,  appears  like 
a  bastion,  rising  almost  perpendicularly  from  the  sea 
to  the  height  of  500  to  i  ,500  feet.  This  wall  of  basalt 
rock  appears  as  though  it  had  been  constructed  by 
the  hand  of  man.  It  is  composed  of  immense,  regu- 
arly  cut  stones  cemented  together  with  a  reddish 
mortar.  Time  and  the  elements  have  carved  the 
face  of  the  rock  into  most  fantastic  designs.  Frost 
and  thaw  have  softened  the  hard  face,  and  the 
dribbling  water,  passing  like  tears  over  it,  has 
washed  away  the  debris  and  carried  it  to  the  base  of 
the  wall,  where  it  has  accumulated  for  ages  and  forms, 
almost  at  regular  intervals,  immense  gray  mounds, 
that  look  from  a  distance  like  ash-heaps  from  a  fur- 
nace. 

On  the  surface  of  the  mesa,  and  especially  in  the 
valleys  and  on  the  shore,  where  a  little  soil  has 
formed,  a  scanty  growth  of  grass  appears  here  and 
there  in  the  form  of  pale  green  patches,  which  re- 

20  305 


306     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

lieve,  somewhat,  the  severity  of  the  otherwise  bleak, 
dreary  aspect  of  the  landscape.  Flocks  of  eider- 
ducks,  gulls,  and  kitti wakes  enliven  the  air  and  sur- 
face of  the  water.  During  the  afternoon,  the  driz- 
zling rain  ceased,  the  gray  clouds  broke  and  dispersed, 
and,  although  the  thermometer  only  registered  42^° 
F.,  the  icy  wind  from  the  inland  ice-cap  made  it 
necessary  to  make  use  of  an  overcoat  when  on  deck. 


HARBOR  OF  GODHAVN 


The  harbor  of  Godhavn  is  in  an  out-of-the-way 
place,  and  not  an  easy  one  to  find.  Following  the 
coast  at  half  speed,  we  discovered  the  first  un- 
mistakable landmark  leading  to  it,  a  narrow,  rocky, 
projecting  strip  of  lowland  with  an  immense  erect 
boulder,  painted  red,  at  its  head,  and  with  a  white 
Roman  cross  painted  on  its  face  on  the  side  of  the 
entrance  into  a  small  bay.  As  we  entered  this  little 
bay,  we  saw  a  small  schooner  disappear  to  the  right, 
presumably  into  the  harbor.  The  steamer's  whistle 
soon  brought  out  a  large  row  boat  manned  by  half 
a  dozen  natives.  The  Eskimo  pilot  came  on  board, 
and,  although  he  could  not  speak  a  word  of  English, 
skillfully  directed  the  course  of  the  ship. 

At  the  head  of  the  little  bay  a  very  narrow  chan- 
nel leads  into  the  little  harbor.  The  harbor  is  land- 
locked, separated  from  the  ocean  on  the  opposite 
side  by  a  low  narrow  bar  over  which  the  waves  leap 
into  the  harbor  when  the  sea  is  high  and  the  wind 
in  the  direction  of  the  island  from  that  side.  The 
harbor  is  deep,  but  so  small  that  it  could  not  ac- 
commodate more  than  three  or  four  ships  of  the  size 
of  the  "Erik."  It  was  evening  when  the  anchor 
dropped  near  the  middle  of  the  harbor.  On  entering 
the  harbor,  we  passed  a  number  of  kayaks.  Their 
inmates,  mostly  boys  and  girls,  were  engaged  in 

307 


3o8     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

fishing  for  cod,  and  later  brought  us  the  day's  catch 
in  exchange  for  crackers,  pork,  and  other  eatables. 

GODHAVN 

I  was  very  anxious  to  see  Godhavn,  after  seeing 
and  studying  the  Smith  Sound  Eskimos,  in  order  to 
learn  from  my  own  observations  the  effects  of  civi- 
lization on  the  Eskimo  race.  Commander  Peary 
very  kindly  granted  my  urgent  request  and  ordered 
the  captain  of  the  "Erik"  to  put  in  at  Godhavn  on 
the  return  trip,  provided  the  weather  permitted  him 
doing  so  without  taking  additional  risks.  He  gave 
me,  at  the  same  time,  a  letter  of  introduction  to  the 
inspector  of  North  Greenland.  As  it  was  late  in  the 
evening,  and  a  drizzling  rain  again  set  in,  we  re- 
mained on  board.  We  learned  that  the  little  schoon- 
er we  had  seen,  before  coming  to  the  harbor,  was  a 
government  vessel,  just  returned  from  a  sail  to  Eged- 
esminde,  with  Governor  Mathiesen  on  board.  The 
little  craft  was  anchored  near  the  "Erik,"  the  only 
two  vessels  in  the  harbor. 

Godhavn  is  located  on  a  gneissoid  spur,  off- 
setting from  the  larger  mass  of  Disco.  The  low 
tongue  of  land  is  strewn  all  over  with  immense  boul- 
ders, with  little  shallow  patches  of  soil  in  isolated 
places  among  the  rocks.  In  the  rear  of  the  harbor, 
mountains,  which  were  at  this  time  in  a  garb  of  new 
snow,  rise  to  the  height  of  at  least  2,000  feet.  Near 
the  talus  of  the  highest  mountain,  and  on  the  edge 
of  the  harbor,  is  a  solid,  one-story  stone  building 
which  is  the  rendering  establishment  of  the  settle- 
ment and  not  in  use  at  this  season  of  the  year.  The 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     309 

village  is  located  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  harbor. 
The  houses  of  the  inspector  of  North  Greenland  and 
the  governor  of  Disco  District  are  comfortable  and 
substantial  one-story  frame  buildings  with  high 
gable  roofs.  A  miniature  garden  is  attached  to  each 
of  them.  The  huts  of  the  natives  are  small  frame 
buildings,  and  some  of  them  are  walled  in,  in  part 
at  least,  with  turf.  There  are  no  streets,  the  homes, 
some  twenty  in  number,  being  scattered  over  a  con- 
siderable surface.  The  entire  population  does  not 
exceed  eighty-five. 

The  inspector  was  absent,  having  returned  to 
Denmark  for  the  winter,  as  is  his  usual  custom. 
The  governor  acted  as  his  substitute  during  the  win- 
ter, besides  attending  to  his  own  duties  as  store- 
keeper for  the  district,  which  comprises  Disco  Island 
and  some  of  the  small  inhabited  islands  in  Disco 
Bay — three  or  four  settlements  in  all.  The  Danish 
flag  had  been  transferred  from  the  flagstaff  in  front 
of  the  inspector's  house  to  the  one  in  front  of  the 
governor's  house.  The  government  buildings,,  be- 
sides the  residences  of  the  two  officials,  consist  of 
store  houses,  rendering  establishment,  and  brewery; 
the  business  places  being  the  property  of  the  Royal 
Greenland  Company.  The  brewery  is  conducted  by 
natives,  and  the  beer  brewed  does  not  contain  any 
alcohol,  but  is  a  refreshing,  pleasant  beverage  and 
is  sold  to  the  Eskimos  at  eight  kroner  a  keg.  The 
sale  of  liquor  in  all  of  the  settlements  is  prohib- 
ited by  stringent  laws,  consequently  the  vice  of 
drunkenness  is  unknown. 

The  day  after  our  arrival,  I  called  on  the  govern- 


3io     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

nor,  and,  in  his  company,  visited  the  public  buildings, 
brewery,  schoolhouse,  the  little  church,  and  a  number 
of  huts  of  the  natives.  These  huts  have  retained 
some  of  the  features  of  the  igloo.  The  windows  are 
few  and  small.  The  roofs  are  made  of  corrugated 
iron  or  slate.  The  doors  are  very  narrow  and  low. 
The  interior  is  generally  divided  into  two  compart- 
ments, one  is  the  living  and  bedroom,  the  other,  the 
kitchen  and  storehouse.  The  common  family  bed 
is  a  wooden  platform,  about  two  feet  high,  taking  in 
the  whole  width  of  the  room.  The  bedding  consists 
of  furs,  mostly  tanned  sealskins,  as  bear  and  reindeer 
in  this  part  of  Greenland  are  very  scarce. 

Much  of  the  animal  food  is  cooked,  which  may 
account  for  occasional  attacks  of  scurvy  during  the 
long  winter  months.  This,  however,  always  dis- 
appears in  the  spring  when  the  natives  can  secure 
narwhal  and  white  whale.  The  skin  of  these  animals 
is  eaten  raw  and,  like  the  Eskimos  of  Smith  Sound, 
is  relished  as  a  great  delicacy.  The  houses  are 
heated  by  stoves — turf  being  used  as  fuel. 

One  of  the  most  striking  effects  of  civilization 
on  these  people  has  been  to  make  them  respect  and 
practise  cleanliness.  They  are  clean  in  person  and 
in  their  houses.  The  men  wear  sealskin  trousers, 
short  boots  of  the  same  material,  and  jackets  with 
hoods  made  either  of  sealskin,  or,  during  the  summer, 
of  cloth.  Underclothing  of  eider-duck  skins  or 
woven  material  is  most  generally  worn.  The  women 
and  girls  are  exceptionally  well  dressed.  They  wear 
hip  boots  of  many  bright  colors,  jupe,  collars  and 
hair  bands  of  beadwork.  They  part  their  hair  in 


CIVILIZED    ESKIMOS    OF   GODHAVN 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     311 

the  middle  and  tie  it  tastily  in  a  knot  over  the  back 
of  the  head. 

There  has  been  so  much  Danish  blood  infused 
into  the  Eskimo  race  here  and  elsewhere  in  the  Dan- 
ish settlements  that  they  have  lost  most  of  the  strik- 
ing features  of  the  aborigines.  The  malar  prom- 
inences are  less  marked,  diminishing  the  flatness 
of  the  face,  which  has  become  elongated.  The  skin 
has  lost  much  of  its  swarthiness,  and  blue  eyes  and 
red  hair  are  by  no  means  uncommon.  If  most  of 
these  people  were  seen  in  Copenhagen,  no  one  would 
mistrust  their  Eskimo  origin,  One  can  see  here 
men  with  blond  beards,  fair  skin,  and  blue  eyes,  who 
bear  no  resemblance  whatever  to  the  Eskimos  of  the 
far  North,  and  yet  for  generations  their  ancestors 
have  lived  in  Greenland.  The  women  have  aban- 
doned their  savage  customs.  They  cannot  ride  the 
kayak,  and  no  longer  cure  skins  by  chewing  them. 
They  are  excellent  seamstresses  and  use  thread  in- 
stead of  the  sinews  of  the  narwhal. 

In  many  respects  civilization  has  bettered  their 
condition.  They  are  all  Lutherans  and  regular 
churchgoers.  The  settlement  has  a  neat,  tiny 
church  in  which  service  is  held  every  Sunday.  A 
Danish  missionary  visits  the  settlement  twice  a  year, 
and  between  his  visits  the  school  master,  a  native 
educated  in  Greenland,  conducts  the  service  by  re- 
citing a  prayer,  conducting  the  singing,  and  by  read- 
ing a  chapter  from  the  Bible. 

The  little  frame  schoolhouse  contains  four  small 
desks  with  as  many  equally  rough,  unfinished  benches 
which  afford  scant  space  for  the  twenty-two  little 


312     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

children  who  receive  their  rudimentary  education 
here.  Higher  education  <  for  the  natives  is  provided 
for  at  Julianahaab,  where  missionaries  conduct  a 
seminary  and  where  a  small  printing  establishment 
is  located.  The  books  published  in  the  Eskimo 
language  are:  Bible,  Testament,  catechism,  song- 
book,  primary  reader,  and  a  pamphlet  on  first  aid. 
As  there  are  only  a  very  few  educated  physicians  in 
Greenland,  this  pamphlet  is  a  great  help  to  the 
people  living  far  away  from  medical  aid.  Mr.  Ger- 
hard Kleist,  the  schoolmaster,  is  one  of  the  swarth- 
iest of  the  Eskimos  here.  He  is  not  only  a  good 
schoolmaster,  but  a  skilled  carpenter.  His  salary 
is  500  kroner  ($135.00)  a  year,  which  is  paid  out  of 
a  fund  of  a  missionary  society.  He  is  a  man  of 
middle  age,  the  happy  father  of  nine  robust  chil- 
dren, and  is  living  in  his  little  house  that  he  built 
himself,  near  the  schoolhouse.  His  three  oldest 
daughters  are  charming  girls,  the  belles  of  Godhavn. 
Accompanied  by  their  father,  they  came  on  board 
in  the  evening  to  return  our  visit.  They  were 
dressed  in  their  best  and  entertained  us  by  singing 
sweetly  one  of  their  favorite  church  songs.  The 
father  took  considerable  pride  in  informing  us  that 
the  short  beaded  capes  they  wore  cost  him  a  pound 
apiece.  It  appears  from  this  that  marriageable 
daughters  make  family  expenses  high,  even  among 
the  Greenland  Eskimos. 

The  "Erik"  was  the  first  foreign  ship  to  enter 
this  harbor  within  the  last  three  years,  and  the  new 
governor,  Mr.  O.  J.  F.  Mathiesen,  very  recently  ap- 
pointed, was  given  the  first  opportunity  to  make 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     313 

use  of  his  official  power  in  dealing  with  the  outside 
world.  He  was  born  in  Godhavn  thirty-five  years 
ago.  His  father  and  mother  emigrated  from  Den- 
mark to  Greenland  in  1870.  He  attended  school 
for  six  years  in  Copenhagen.  It  was  a  source  of 
great  disappointment  to  me  that  he  could  speak 
neither  German  nor  French,  as  his  knowledge  of 
English  was  so  very  limited  that  I  experienced  great 
difficulty  in  obtaining  from  him  the  desired  infor- 
mation on  many  subjects,  more  especially  on  the 
effects,  immediate  and  remote,  of  civilization  on  the 
Eskimos.  The  situation  was  made  more  painful 
by  his  labored  efforts  to  comply  with  my  request. 
He  entertained  us  at  his  house,  showed  us  through 
all  government  institutions,  visited  with  us  a  number 
of  the  more  prominent  Eskimo  families  in  the  vil- 
lage, and  we  met  everywhere  with  a  most  cordial 
reception.  In  the  evening,  before  sailing,  we  enter- 
tained the  governor  on  board,  and  on  this  occasion 
the  murdering  of  the  English  language  on  one  side, 
and  of  the  Danish  on  the  other,  was  something 
frightful.  But  the  strenuous  conversation  was  kept 
up  until  near  midnight.  He  is  a  single  man,  but 
intends  to  go  to  Copenhagen  next  summer  to  claim 
his  bride,  who,  he  says,  is  willing  to  return  with  him 
to  this  out-of-the-way  place. 

The  Eskimos  of  the  Godhavn  settlement  are 
principally  engaged  in  fishing  and  seal-hunting. 
Rock  cod,  halibut,  and  salmon  are  plentiful. 
In  early  spring,  the  seal  migrate  in  large  numbers  to 
the  shores  of  Disco  Bay.  Walrus  is  getting  scarce 
in  this  locality,  and  last  year  only  one  polar  bear 


3i4     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

was  killed.  The  reindeer  have  migrated  farther 
north.  Ptarmigan,  arctic  hare,  and  sea-fowl  furnish 
sport  for  the  shot  gun.  The  Danish  government 
has  acted  very  wisely  in  supplying  the  natives  with 
muzzle-loading  guns  of  the  same  caliber.  The  piti- 
ful cry  for  powder  is  not  heard  here,  and  accidents 
occur  here  less  frequently  than  among  the  Smith 
Sound  Eskimos,  most  of  whom  have  breechloaders 
of  different  calibers. 

The  coast  steamer  "Fox"  of  the  Royal  Green- 
land Company,  that  we  met  in  North  Star  Bay, 
calls  here  several  times  during  the  summer,  brings 
supplies  and  takes  away  the  skins  and  ivory  which 
the  natives  exchange  at  the  storehouse  for  the  most 
necessary  articles  with  which  to  supply  their  house- 
holds. Tobacco,  tea,  biscuits,  soap,  thread,  pow- 
der, lead,  caps,  cotton  and  woolen  cloths  are  the 
articles  most  in  demand. 

Greenland  has  its  own  paper  money,  but  no  silver. 
The  denominations  of  the  paper  money  suit  the 
local  market,  ranging  from  one  kroner  upward. 
The  silver  which  circulates  here  is  Danish  coins. 
In  making  little  purchases,  the  natives  would  accept 
neither  American,  Canadian,  nor  English  silver. 
The  governor  came  to  our  aid  and  gave  us  Danish 
for  American  money. 

Greenland  has  no  postage  stamps.  The  letters 
go  to  Copenhagen,  where  the  Danish  stamps  are 
affixed  and  canceled.  The  local  mail  is  carried  on 
kayaks  in  the  summer  and  dog  sledges  in  the  winter. 
The  prohibition  of  the  sale  of  intoxicating  liquors, 
by  the  government,  the  education  of  the  children  in 


CHURCH    AT    GODHAVN 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     315 

missionary  schools,  and  the  Christianization  of  the 
people  by  the  Lutheran  church  have  borne  excellent 
fruit,  the  evidences  of  which  can  be  so  plainly  seen 
in  Godhavn.  On  the  other  hand,  civilization  has 
also  brought  its  bad  influences.  The  alterations 
in  dress  and  diet,  the  living  in  small,  heated  huts 
summer  and  winter,  in  the  same  place  year  after 
year,  could  not  fail  in  slowly  undermining  the  vigor 
and  health  of  the  people. 

Godhavn  is  in  need  of  a  dentist.  Its  inhabitants, 
in  consequence  of  modernizing  their  manner  of 
living  and  eating,  have  lost  the  splendid  teeth  of  the 
real  Eskimo.  The  real  Eskimo  has  teeth  as  perfect 
as  his  dogs,  exempt  from  malformation  and  disease, 
and  only  subject  to  a  gradual  wearing  away  from 
use.  The  only  case  of  toothache  and.  swollen  cheek 
I  saw  among  the  Eskimos  was  at  Godhavn.  Irregu- 
larity of  teeth,  caries,  or  loss  of  teeth,  never  seen 
among  the  real  Eskimos,  are  seen  as  frequently  in 
Godhavn  as  in  any  of  our  communities.  The  wear- 
ing of  hats  and  caps,  instead  of  the  loose  hood,  has 
proved  here,  as  elsewhere,  a  menace  to  the  vigorous 
growth  of  hair  which  ornaments  the  scalp  of  every 
Eskimo,  as  I  saw  among  the  limited  number  of 
adults  at  least  three  persons,  two  men  and  one 
woman,  bald,  and  all  of  these  were  blonds  and  had 
blue  eyes,  the  most  degenerate  kinds  of  Eskimos. 
Then,  too,  the  taste  of  civilization  brings  ever- 
increasing  desires  and  longings  for  something  new; 
and  attempts  to  gratify  them,  a  corresponding  in- 
crease of  family  expenses  and  additional  cares,  to 
say  nothing  of  the  chagrin  and  disappointments 


3i6     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

if  they  cannot  be  satisfied.  The  fewer  the  needs, 
the  greater  the  contentment;  while  the  craving  for 
something  difficult  to  acquire,  or  entirely  out  of 
reach,  is  the  mother  of  worry  and  discontent.  And 
we  must  not  forget: 


"Pleasure    blinds,  so    to  say,  the  eyes  of  the 
mind,  and  has  no  fellowship  with  virtue. " — Cicero. 


and 


"Happiness  and  misery  are  the  sources  of  the 
two  extremes,  the  utmost  bounds  whereof  we 
know  not." — Locke. 

We  can  say,  in  brief,  that  civilization  has  had  a 
salutary  effect  on  the  mental  status  and  morals  of 
the  Eskimos  on  the  one  hand,  while,  on  the  other, 
it  has  resulted  in  a  deplorable  physical  degeneration 
and  a  vastly  increased  receptivity  to  disease.  God- 
havn  is  a  good  place  to  purchase  little  souvenirs, 
which  the  natives  make,  such  as  toy  kayaks,  dog 
sledges,  purses  and  slippers  of  seal  skin,  etc. 


GREENLAND  PORTS 

Denmark  guards  the  ports  of  entrance  of  this 
possession  with  scrupulous  care  for  the  purpose  of 
holding  the  monopoly  of  trade  and  as  a  precaution 
against  the  introduction  of  contagious  and  infec- 
tious diseases.  I  here  give  a  few  extracts  from  the 
regulations  which  govern  the  entrance  of  foreign 
vessels  into  any  of  the  ports  of  Greenland,  a  copy  of 
which  is  given  to  the  master  of  every  ship  entering 
a  port: 

THE    BOARD    OP    THE    ROYAL    GREENLAND 
COMPANY  MAKE  KNOWN: 


By  treaties  made  between  the  Royal  Danish 
Government  and  the  United  States  of  America, 
Great  Britain,  and  other  states,  it  is  recognized 
that  the  Danish  colonies,  with  all  coasts  and 
islands  belonging  thereto,  on  the  west  coast 
of  Greenland,  which  colonies  presently  ex- 
tend from  60°  to  74°  30'  north  latitude, 
are  closed  to  navigation  to  foreign  vessels  (as 
well  as  to  Danish  vessels)  unless  special  permis- 
sion has  been  obtained  from  the  Danish  Govr 
eminent  holding  the  monopoly  of  trade  in 
Greenland. 

2 

According  to  Danish  law,  any  vessel  sailing 
on  the  west  coast  of  Greenland  without  leave, 
shall  be  liable  to  be  seized,  wherever  met  with, 
and  the  vessel  and  cargo  to  be  forfeited. 

31? 


3i8     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

Similar  punishment  may  be  applied  when  any 
person  is  found  trading  with  Greenlanders  or 
Danish  colonists  from  any  vessel  lying  in  any 
port  of  Greenland,  or  off  the  said  coast. 

3 

Any  shipmaster,  compelled  by  shipwreck  or 
other  similar  cause  to  seek  refuge  in  any  port 
of  Greenland,  shall  only  remain  in  port  so  long 
as  is  absolutely  necessary,  and  shall  obey  any 
order  given  him  by  the  local  authorities.  *  *  * 

4 

Watering  without  special  leave  shall  only 
take  place  at  the  colony  of  Holstenborg,  Uper- 
navik,  and  the  settlement  of  Godhavn,  and  in 
all  cases  a  bill  of  health  must  be  presented  to 
the  local  authorities  either  by  the  shipmaster 
or  the  ship  surgeon.  If  there  be  any  contagious 
disease  on  board  any  vessel,  the  Greenland 
authorities  shall  take  all  necessary  measures  to 
prevent  the  disease  from  spreading  among  the 
native  population,  and  may  order  the  vessel  to 
proceed  to  another  watering-place.  The  ship- 
master shall  at  once  obey  all  orders  given  him  by 
the  said  authorities.  In  order  to  avoid  the 
spreading  of  any  disease,  it  shall  be  prohibited 
to  dispose  of  or  sell  any  used  wearing  apparel, 
used  bedclothes,  and  similar  things,  to  the 
native  population  of  Greenland  or  to  the  Danish 
colonists. 

5 

The  prohibition  against  navigating  on  the 
west  coast  of  Greenland  and  the  monopoly  of 
trade  purport  to  protect  the  native  population  of 
Greenland,  which  will  be  threatened  with  ruin 
in  case  contagious  diseases  should  spread 
among  them,  or  in  case  it  should  be  permitted 
to  import  alcoholic  drinks  or  other  similar  goods. 


77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     319 

The  regulations  in  the  present  form  came  into  force 
March,  1905. 

These  wise  and  timely  precautions  to  protect  the 
natives  against  outside  diseases  have  been  very 
effective.  As  far  as  I  could  learn,  pulmonary 
tuberculosis,  so  common  in  Denmark,  has  not  as 
yet  gained  a  foothold  here.  There  is  no  case,  at 
least  at  present,  in  Godhavn,  and  I  saw  no  indica- 
tions of  glandular,  bone,  or  joint  tuberculosis.  Three 
years  ago  all  of  the  natives  and  colonists  living  on 
the  west  coast  were  vaccinated.  A  year  ago 
typhoid  fever  broke  out  in  one  of  the  colonies.  It 
proved  very  fatal  to  the  Danes,  while  all  the  natives 
recovered.  Venereal  diseases  are  not  as  prevalent 
here  as  among  the  real  Eskimos,  and  appear  to  pur- 
sue a  comparatively  mild  course.  I  saw  no  indica- 
tions of  rickets,  either  in  the  adults,  children,  or 
infants.  Scurvy  makes  its  appearance  occasionally 
toward  the  latter  part  of  winter,  but  yields  promptly 
to  the  spring  diet  of  fresh  meat,  especially  the  raw 
skin  of  the  white  whale  and  narwhal. 

By  government  regulation  permanent  residence  is 
reserved,  exclusively,  for  Danish  subjects.  The 
two  races  appear  to  be  congenial  to  each  other,  and 
instead  of  the  natives  becoming  Danes,  the  Danes 
imitate  them  in  their  manner  of  living,  and  in  a 
short  time  become  Eskimos.  No  efforts  are  made 
to  deprive  the  Eskimos  of  their  language,  and  it 
remains  the  language  of  the  island.  Denmark  has 
done  much  toward  the  civilization  of  the  Eskimos 
and  in  lifting  them  to  a  higher  plane  in  life 
without  resorting  to  any  harsh  means,  and  without 


320     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

interfering  too  much  with  their  local  affairs.  She 
has  played  rather  the  part  of  a  loving  mother  than 
of  a  stern  father.  The  missionaries  are  entitled  to 
much  praise  for  their  untiring  labors  in  bettering 
the  spiritual  life  of  these  docile,  gentle  people. 

In  this  latitude,  the  midnight  sun  shines  from 
the  middle  of  May  to  the  middle  of  August.  Four 
months  out  of  the  year,  the  sun  is  out  of  sight.  Ac- 
cording to  Governor  Mathiesen,  the  coldest  weather 
prevails  during  the  month  of  March.  It  is  during 
the  long  winter  that  the  people,  in  consequence  of 
the  absence  of  sunshine,  the  long  confinement  in  the 
small  huts,  and  especially  the  lack  of  fresh  meat, 
become  anemic  and  nervous,  and  sometimes  scor- 
butic. With  the  appearance  of  sunlight,  outdoor 
exercise,  and  ample  supply  of  fresh  seal,  walrus, 
and  whale  meat  they  recuperate  rapidly  from  the 
effects  of  the  winter's  hardships.  They  are  in  the 
best  physical  condition  when  the  winter  overtakes 
them  again,  resembling  very  much,  in  this  respect 
the  hibernating  animals. 

Wherever  a  little  soil  has  accumulated  between 
rocks  in  and  about  Godhavn,  grass  grows  six  to 
eight  inches  high,  and  flowers  bloom.  Lettuce, 
radishes,  cucumbers,  and  some  other  short-lived 
vegetables  could  be  cultivated  successfully,  but  the 
natives  have  an  inborn  repugnance  against  such 
garden  products.  What  they  ask  for  most,  when  a 
ship  comes  into  port,  is  pork,  coffee,  sugar,  tobacco, 
and  underwear.  In  their  intercourse  with  strangers 
they  are  friendly,  polite,  and  obliging. 


FROM  GODHAVN  TO  ST.  JOHNS,  NEW- 
FOUNDLAND 


Sunday  evening,  after  anchoring  in  the  harbor 
of  Godhavn,  a  pouring  rain  set  in  which  continued, 
with  but  few  slight  intermissions,  for  twenty-four 
hours.  The  male  population  made  use  of  kayaks 
and  two  rowboats  plying  between  the  ship  and  the 
shore.  Females  are  prohibited  by  law  to  come  on 
board  of  a  vessel  in  port.  The  three  grown-up 
daughters,  accompanied  by  their  father,  the  school- 
master, were  the  only  female  visitors  on  board  the 
"Erik;"  and  this  privilege  was,  undoubtedly,  ac- 
corded them  by  the  governor  as  a  mark  of  special 
favor  to  the  most  prominent  and  influential  native 
of  the  settlement.  I  shall  always  remember  my 
visit  to  Godhavn  with  pleasure,  as  it  was  replete  with 
interest  and  gave  me,  at  least,  a  glimpse  of  the  life 
of  the  Eskimos  who  have  lived  under  Danish  rule 
for  more  than  two  hundred  years. 

It  is  the  intention  of  the  Danish  government  to 
extend  its  jurisdiction  over  the  entire  west  coast, 
which  will  then  include  the  last  remnant  of  the  real 
Eskimos  now  living  at  and  north  of  Cape  York. 
The  government  has  in  contemplation,  as  previously 
stated,  the  establishment  of  two  additional  perma- 
nent settlements,  one  at  North  Star  Bay,  and  the 
other  near  Etah,  which,  if  carried  out,  will  bring  the 
entire  native  population  of  Greenland  under  the 
protection  of  the  Danish  flag. 

21  321 


322     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

After  supplying  our  tanks  with  fresh  water,  we 
left  Godhavn  at  noon,  Tuesday,  August  29th.  The 
natives  were  arranged  in  groups  along  the  shore, 
and  the  governor  stood  in  front  of  his  house;  all 
eyes  following  the  ship  as  it  passed  out  of  the  channel 
and  disappeared  from  their  sight  behind  the  rocky 
shore  of  the  peninsula  on  which  Godhavn  is  located. 
When  the  Eskimo  pilot  and  his  crew  left  the  ship, 
we  parted  for  good  with  these  interesting  people. 

A  stiff  breeze  from  the  north,  during  the  fore- 
noon, swept  away  the  fog  and  rain  clouds  and  a 
bright  sunshine  cheered  the  billowy  sea.  The  air 
and  surface  of  the  water  teemed  with  eider-ducks, 
kitti wakes,  and  ivory  gulls.  Numerous  icebergs 
were  resplendent  in  the  sunshine.  Most  of  these 
monsters  are  the  product  of  the  Jacobshavn  Glacier 
at  the  head  of  Disco  Bay.  The  sun  retired  at  7 130 
P.  M.,  in  the  form  of  a  great  disc  of  gold.  Just  before 
the  rim  of  this  golden  disc  touched  the  edge  of  the 
water,  a  narrow  strip  of  a  cloud  obscured  the  upper 
margin,  and  the  effect  of  reflection,  from  this  partial 
hiding  of  the  sun,  produced  on  the  upper  margin  of 
the  cloud  an  image  of  the  sun,  about  half  the  size  of 
the  sun  itself,  giving  the  appearance  of  two  suns  of 
unequal  size,  almost  in  touch  with  each  other. 

Most  of  the  icebergs  we  encountered  were  mere 
wrecks;  many  of  them  had  lost  their  balance  and 
were  leaning  over  to  one  side,  others  were  completely 
turned  over  and  were  lying  on  their  backs.  The 
saddest  spectacles  were  presented  by  those,  which, 
in  their  youth,  had  represented  in  outline  a  ship 
under  full  sail,  but  now  were  wrecks  with  stern  or 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     323 

stem  high  in  the  air  and  the  opposite  end  deeply  under 
water.  The  swaying  and  rocking  movements  of 
these  shapeless  masses  of  ice,  in  the  restless  sea, 
reminded  one,  vividly,  of  a  wreck  at  sea.  After 
leaving  Disco  Bay,  one  of  the  most  productive  birth- 
places of  icebergs  in  the  world,  these,  up  to  now, 
almost  constant  reminders  of  the  arctic  region,  dis- 
appeared completely  from  the  surface  of  the  ocean, 
not  leaving  even  a  sign  of  their  former  existence  in 
the  form  of  wreckage. 

ECLIPSE  OP  THE  SUN 

An  eclipse  of  the  sun  had  been  announced  for 
the  2 yth  of  August.  The  coast  of  Labrador  was 
to  be  the  place  where  this  event  was  to  be  seen  to 
the  best  advantage.  For  more  than  four  weeks  the 
sun  was  for  us  the  center  of  attraction,  as  he  had 
been  our  constant  companion.  We  were  anxious  to 
see  him,  for  once,  shut  out  from  sight  by  a  lesser 
luminary  body.  We  thought  of  Milton's  reference 
to  such  a  rare  occurrence: 

"As  when  the  sun,  new  risen, 
Looks  through  the  horizontal,  misty  air, 
Shorn  of  his  beams;  or  from  behind  the  moon, 
In  dim  eclipse,  disastrous  torchlight  sheds 
On  half  the  nation." 

However,  we  seemed  to  be  in  the  wrong  place  to 
see  the  eclipse.  We  were  constantly  on  the  lookout, 
and  it  certainly  did  not  take  place  on  the  day  pre- 
dicted. The  next  morning  it  was  cloudy.  At  8:30 
A.  M.,  the  captain  said  he  could  see  a  blurring 
of  a  part  of  the  disc  of  the  sun,  then  visible  behind 


324     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

a  thin  veil  of  clouds.  When  I  came  on  the  deck,  I 
thought  I  could  see  a  shadow  in  the  lower  left  quad- 
rant of  the  sun;  and,  if  this  was  an  eclipse,  it  was  a 
very  incomplete  one. 

On  leaving  Disco  Bay,  the  course  of  the  vessel 
was  set  for  the  coast  of  Labrador,  a  little  north  of 
Battle  Harbor,  and  we  soon  lost  sight  of  Greenland. 
This  part  of  the  voyage  was  devoid  of  special  interest. 
Davis  Strait,  which  had  to  be  crossed,  has  not  a 
good  reputation  among  sailors.  It  is  a  restless, 
quarrelsome  body  of  water,  more  especially  so  during 
the  month  of  September.  On  leaving  Disco  Bay, 
we  were  out  of  sight  of  icebergs  for  the  first  time, 
for  any  length  of  time,  since  we  left  the  Strait  of 
Belle  Isle  on  our  upward  trip. 

The  first  two  days  out,  a  strong  breeze  from  the 
north  rendered  material  assistance  in  increasing  the 
speed  of  the  vessel.  When  we  reached  about  the 
middle,  of  Davis  Strait,  very  high  and  long  swells 
from  the  opposite  direction  announced  the  rear 
end  of  a  storm.  The  little  "Erik"  now  demonstra- 
ted what  she  could  do  in  the  way  of  pitching.  The 
violent  heaving  of  the  ocean  made  her  stand  on  her 
heels  and  then  plunge  forward  into  a  great  abyss, 
dipping  her  sharp  nose  deep  into  the  next  wave, 
which,  in  turn,  lifted  her  into  an  almost  standing 
position.  As  the  wind  shifted  toward  the  west, 
the  monotonous  rocking  movements  were  modified 
into  a  motion  resembling  the  tortuous  windings  of 
a  screw,  a  combination  of  pitching  and  rolling  so 
trying  to  sensitive  stomachs.  Before  we  reached  the 
Labrador  coast,  the  wind  was  again  in  our  favor, 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     325 

and   contributed  much  toward  hastening  our  home- 
ward  journey  and  in  calming  the  sea. 

The  little  auk,  that  intrepid,  hardy  bird  of  the 
arctics,  we  left  behind  some  fifty  miles  out  from 
Greenland,  but  the  faithful  escort  of  several  kinds 
of  gulls  followed  us  from  coast  to  coast.  We  had 
now  reached  a  latitude  where  the  sun  sets  early 
enough  to  give  place  to  a  long,  peaceful  night,  in  the 
shadows  of  which  body  and  mind  find  the  necessary 
rest.  Sunrise  and  sunset  now  lent  a  charm  to  the 
beginning  and  close  of  the  day.  After  a  long  dawn, 
announcing  the  approach  of  a  new  day,  with  eyes 
fixed  on  the  eastern  horizon,  we  could  say  with 
Thomson : 

"But  yonder  comes  the  powerful  king  of  day, 
Rejoicing  in  the  east." 

and  in  the  evening,  looking  in  the  opposite  direction : 

"The  downward  sun 
Looks  out  effulgent  from  amid  the  flash 
Of  broken  clouds." 

And  after  the  fading  away  of  the  gentle  twilight  into 
the  somber  solitude  of  restful  night: 

"In  her  starry  shade 
Of  dim  and  solitary  loneliness, 
I  learn  the  language  of  another  world." — Byron. 

What  a  relief  it  is  to  get  away  from  the  constant 
glitter  of  the  midnight  sun,  and  to  return  to  a  lati- 
tude where  night  invites  sleep  and  repose!  Who 
else,  but  the  Almighty  Architect  of  the  universe, 
could  have  created  the  lights  of  heaven  and  regulated 
their  course  in  such  a  way  as  to  make  an  equal  divi- 


326     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

sion  of  time  into  night  and  day,  rest  and  labor, 
where  the  great  mass  of  people  of  this  world  live  and 
toil? 

"It  would  be  labor  lost  to  him,  at  present,  that 
this  mighty  frame  of  the  world  could  not  be 
maintained  without  some  governor,  and  that 
this  regular  course  of  the  stars  is  not  directed 
by  chance," — Seneca. 

The  early  dawn  brings  hope  and  vigor  to  the 
toiling  masses,  and,  with  the  waning  day,  the  soft 
twilight,  with  its  soothing  influence,  prepares  the 
way  for  a  restful,  peaceful  sleep. 

THE  SUN  AS  A  PAINTER 

Sunrise  and  sunset  at  sea,  when  the  clouds  do 
not  veil,  too  deeply,  the  face  of  the  rising  and  set- 
ting king  of  day,  are  hours  eagerly  looked  forward 
to,  as  it  is,  then,  that  the  sky,  broken  clouds,  and 
the  surface  of  the  sea  are  decorated  in  colors  and 
hues  that  have  never  been  and  never  will  be  repro- 
duced to  anything  like  perfection  with  the  brush 
of  the  most  famous  artists.  The  pictures  the  sun 
paints  are  unlike  those  we  see  in  our  most  famous 
collections  of  art.  The  former  are  living,  moving, 
ever  changing  pictures;  the  latter  are  dead,  fixed 
immovably  on  canvas  by  rude  paints,  lacking  all 
the  delicate  hues  which  impart  such  characteristic 
charms  to  the  former.  A  sunset  or  sunrise  on  canvas 
is  the  same,  day  after  day  and  night  after  night. 
The  pictures  in  the  orient  and  Occident,  painted  by 
the  sun,  are  never  the  same.  In  these  pictures,  in 
the  sky  or  on  the  sea,  the  background  and  the  fore- 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     327 

ground,  the  tapestry,  are  continually  changing  and 
the  stiff,  cold,  crude  colors  of  the  canvas  are  lacking. 
It  has  always  seemed  strange  to  me  that  so  many 
people,  who  take  an  interest  in  art  and  who  make 
claim  to  a  knowledge  of  art,  take  more  pleasure  in 
visiting  art  galleries  than  in  studying  and  admiring 
nature's  immaculate  and  perfect  works  of  art.  Who- 
ever has  made  a  careful  study  of  sunset  and  sunrise 
at  sea  will  not  lose  much  time  in  the  art  galleries, 
examining  the  rude  pictures  made  to  imitate  such 
glorious  scenes,  no  matter  how  famous  the  name  of 
the  artist  on  the  canvas  may  be.  Who  can  repro- 
duce on  stiff  canvas  the  golden,  silvery,  rosy  tints 
of  the  curtain  of  clouds,  or  the  delicate  shadows 
of  fleeting  clouds  on  the  rippling  mirror  of  the  sea? 
Nature  is  the  only  real  art  gallery,  and  she  exhibits 
her  marvelous  pictures  and  panoramas  in  the  open 
air,  free  to  all.  Keep  out  of  the  dingy,  dusty  halls, 
called  art  galleries,  hung  with  pictures  that  require 
a  legend  to  know  what  they  are  intended  to  repre- 
sent, and  commune  in  the  open  air  with  nature  and 
study  her  inimitable  works  of  art. 

AURORA  BOREALIS 

The  midnight  sun  excluded  the  possibility  for  us 
to  see  the  aurora  borealis  in  the  arctic  region.  This 
strange  phenomenon  of  the  sky  makes  its  grandest 
display  in  the  arctics  during  the  long  winter  night. 

Nansen  describes  one  of  these  exhibitions  which 
he  witnessed  during  midwinter  in  83°  north  latitude: 
"Presently  the  aurora  borealis  shakes  over  the 
vault  of  heaven  its  veil  of  glittering  silver — changing 


328     77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

now  to  yellow,  now  to  green,  now  to  red.  It  spreads, 
it  contracts  again,  in  restless  change;  next,  it  breaks 
into  many  folded  waving  bands  of  shining  silver, 
over  which  short  billows  of  glittering  rays  float,  and 
then  the  glory  vanishes.  Presently,  it  shimmers 
in  tongues  of  flame  over  the  very  zenith,  and  then 
again  it  shoots  a  bright  ray  right  up  from  the  hori- 
zon, until,  the  whole  melts  away  in  moonlight;  and 
it  is  as  though  one  heard  the  sigh  of  a  separating 
spirit.  Here  and  there  are  left  a  few,  waving  stream- 
ers of  light,  vague  as  a  foreboding — they  are  the  dust 
from  the  aurora's  glittering  cloak.  But  now  it  is 
grown  again;  new  lightnings  shoot  up,  and  the  endless 
game  begins  afresh.  And  all  the  time  this  utter 
stillness,  impassive  as  the  symphony  of  infinitude." 

All  arctic  explorers  have  been  charmed  by  this 
magnificent  vision  which  must,  at  least  to  a  con- 
siderable extent,  have  relieved  the  monotony  of  the 
long  polar  night.  It  is,  in  this  part  of  the  world, 
a  real  fourth  light  of  heaven,  synchronous,  and  in 
perfect  harmony  with  the  gentle  light  of  moon  and 
stars.  The  aurora  borealis  is  intimately  associated 
with  the  electro-magnetic  system  of  the  earth,  both 
as  to  its  origin  and  visibility;  although  the  causes 
and  conditions  of  its  intermittent  actions  are  not 
yet  fully  understood.  Some  claim  that  the  display 
is  occasionally  attended  by  an  audible  swishing 
sound.  Captain  Frazer,  of  the  S.  S.  "Bonaventura," 
informed  me  that  he  frequently  heard  such  a  sound 
during  the  height  of  the  phenomenon  in  his  cruises 
along  the  coast  of  Newfoundland. 

The  common  optical  effect  is  the  long,  low  arch 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     329 

spanning  the  sky,  of  gray,  green,  purple,  or  red  colors; 
somewhat  brightening  into  the  most  magnificent 
display  of  transient  tints,  suffusing  the  whole  heavens. 
Toward  the  end  of  the  display,  long  streamers  reced- 
ing from  the  observer  seem  to  unite  in  a  glorious 
crown,  or  halo,  called  the  corona.  Moistness  of  the 
atmosphere,  cold,  low  barometric  pressure,  and  the 
neighborhood  of  large  bodies  of  water  intensify  the 
luminous  manifestations.  The  arctics  present  all 
of  these  conditions  and  are,  therefore,  the  localities 
in  which  the  aurora  makes  the  most  magnificent 
displays.  The  aurora,  which  only  occasionally  is 
seen  in  our  latitude,  is  but  the  shadow  of  what  is  to 
be  seen  in  the  polar  regions. 

The  dreary  coast  of  Labrador  is  favored  by  this 
mysterious  light,  and  for  the  last  three  nights  I  have 
watched  and  studied  these  transitory  arches,  veils, 
sheets,  and  streamers  of  shimmering  silver.  The 
first  display  made  its  appearance  Thursday  evening, 
August  3ist,  at  9:30  P.  M.,  simultaneous  with  the 
new  moon  and  the  first  starlit  night.  The  finest 
displays  have  been  observed  between  ten  o'clock 
in  the  evening  and  midnight.  The  sky  has  been 
propitious  for  these  exhibitions.  The  golden  cres- 
cent of  the  new  moon 

"The  queen  of  night 

Shines  fair  with  all  her  virgin  stars." — Otway. 
and 

"Now  had  Aurora  displayed  her  mantle  over  the 
blushing  skies,  and  dark  night  withdrawn  her 
sable  veil." — Cervantes. 

Imagine  yourself  on  the  deck  of  a  steamer,  far 


330     77V  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

away  from  land,  the  delicate  blue  of  the  sky  as  a 
background,  the  new  moon,  the  heavens  rejoicing 

"In  the  galaxy,  that  milky  way 
Which  nightly,  as  a  circling  zone,  them  see'st 
Powdered  with  stars." — Milton. 

and  between  the  fleeting  clouds  and  these  myriads 
of  flickering  tapers,  the  fourth  light  of  heaven,  the 
aurora,  in  her  favorite  silver  array  and  ever  varying 
multitudinous  forms  and  you  will  be  in  a  favorable 
mood  to  join  in  the  song  of  the  Psalmist : 

"The  heavens  declare  the  glory  of  God;  and  the 
firmament  showeth  his  handiwork." 

—Psalm  XIX,  1. 

AURORA    BOREALIS 

Mysterious  light  of  arctic  skies, 

Shining  from  where  fierce  Boreas  sighs; 

In  glittering  beams  of  silver  hue 

And  trembling  flames  of  gold,  red,  and  blue, 

Shine  long  and  bright  with  all  thy  might, 

O'er  land  and  sea  in  polar  night. 

Fourth  light  of  heav'n  in  arctic  zone, 
Where  biting  winds  and  ice  forever  moan ; 
Congenial  friend  of  moon  and  stars 
With  gloomy  darkness  keep  up  your  wars; 
Shine  long  and  bright  with  all  thy  might, 
O'er  land  and  sea  in  polar  night. 

Soft,  gentle  light,  we  can  not  explain 
What  you  are,  and  what  may  be  your  aim 
In  sending  forth  your  unsteady  flame, 
Sparkling  with  gold  and  silver  in  the  main ; 
Shine  long  and  bright  with  all  thy  might, 
O'er  snow  and  ice  in  polar  night. 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     331 

The  Labrador  coast  was  sighted  toward  evening, 
Sunday,  September  3d,  about  a  hundred  miles  north 
of  Battle  Harbor.  A  beautiful,  real  Labrador  sun- 
set awaited  us.  Behind  broken  clouds,  the  sun 
appeared,  from  time  to  time,  in  all  his  northern 
splendor;  and,  when  temporarily  veiled,  fringed  the 
transient  clouds  with  gold;  while  high  above  the 
horizon,  the  dark  clouds  were  painted  in  purple, 
gradually,  almost  imperceptibly,  shading  into  somber 
black.  As  the  great  ball  of  fire  approached  its  ocean- 
bed,  and  its  lower  rim  touched  the  summits  of  the 
bleak  coast  range  of  mountains  in  the  distance,  the 
dazzling  rays  vanished  and  left  the  sun  a  great  disc 
of  gold,  which  disappeared,  inch  by  inch,  behind  the 
ill-defined  horizon.  With  the  disappearance  of  the 
last  speck  of  gold,  the  coloration  of  the  sky  and 
clouds  was  blotted  out  so  suddenly  that,  when  the 
eyes  lost  sight  of  the  retiring  sun,  a  pale  sky  and 
black,  somber  clouds  formed  the  background  of  the 
new-born  twilight,  which  slowly  yielded  to  the 
darkness  of  the  coming  night. 

The  next  evening,  again  out  of  sight  of  land,  the 
new  moon  made  a  wonderful  and,  to  me,  a  novel 
display.  About  nine  o'clock,  the  crescent  of  gold 
approached,  in  measured  steps,  the  western  horizon, 
only  recently  cleared  of  clouds  for  the  reception  of 
the  queen  of  the  night,  traveling  over  a  trackless, 
pale-blue  surface.  The  moon  appeared  to  me 
brighter  than  I  had  ever  seen  her  before  in  that 
part  of  the  sky.  The  display  of  the  aurora  borealis 
in  the  north  then  engaged  my  attention.  When  I 
looked  westward  again,  the  crescent  had  disap- 


332     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

peared.  In  its  place  I  saw,  on  a  level  with  the  hori- 
zon, what  looked  to  me  like  a  mound  of  flameless, 
mouldering  fire.  If  we  had  been  in  sight  of  the 
coast,  I  would  have  regarded  it  as  such.  There 
were  no  flames  or  anything  that  resembled  flames. 
This  burning  mound,  almost  the  color  of  blood, 
became  lower  and  lower,  and  in  a  few  minutes  van- 
ished entirely,  leaving  the  horizon  black,  without 
even  a  tinge  of  coloration.  This  strange  image  in 
the  sky  was  the  result  of  a  very  limited  reflection  of 
the  moon,  already  hidden  underneath  the  horizon 
in  a  hazy  atmosphere,  a  picture  rarely  developed 
under  similar  conditions. 

The  voyage  along  the  coasts  of  Labrador  and 
Newfoundland  was  a  very  pleasant  one,  as  it  was 
attended  by  ideal  weather,  favorable  wind,  sun- 
shine, and,  occasionally,  the  passage  overhead  of  a 
drizzling  cloud.  The  temperature  gradually  climbed 
up  to  59°  F.  The  much  feared  fog  along  the  coast  of 
Newfoundland  was,  for  once,  absent.  The  air  was 
unusually  dry  and  bracing.  Monday  night,  we 
passed  a  coast  steamer  and  a  sailing  vessel,  the  first 
ships  seen  since  we  left  Belle  Isle  Strait,  with  the 
exception  of  the  "Roosevelt"  and  the  little  Danish 
steamer,  "Fox,"  and  the  small  sailing  vessel  in  the 
harbor  of  Godhavn.  Soon  after  leaving  the  Labra- 
dor coast,  we  lost  sight  of  the  icebergs  which,  how- 
ever, caused  no  regrets.  For  nearly  two  months 
these  colossal  fragments  of  the  many  glaciers  in  the 
far  North,  water,  sky,  clouds,  and  the  bleak  coast 
of  Greenland  were  constantly  before  our  eyes;  and 
it  was  a  relief  when  the  green,  low  coast  range  of 


IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS     333 

mountains  of  Newfoundland  came  in  sight.  The  green 
meadows  in  the  valleys  and  the  tree-clad  cliffs  were 
a  pleasing  sight  and  a  welcome  change  from  the 
more  stern  aspects  of  the  heart  of  the  arctics.  The 
trees  were  small  and  dwarfed  by  the  fierce  gales  of 
many  a  winter;  but  they  were  trees,  and  reminded 
us  that  we  were  on  the  sunny  side  of  the  Arctic  Circle. 
The  narrow  entrance  of  the  landlocked,  beautiful 
harbor  of  St.  Johns  was  passed  at  six  o'clock  in  the 
evening,  Tuesday,  September  5th,  and  half  an  hour 
later  the  "Erik"  was  at  anchor  in  her  own  home. 
We  found  in  the  harbor  six  English  men-of- 
war.  All  merchant  vessels  were  decorated,  and 
the  little  capital  city  was  in  gala  attire.  These 
demonstrations  proved  to  be  in  honor  of  Prince 
Louis  of  Battenburg,  the  Rear- Admiral,  on  board 
his  flag  ship,  the  "Drake,"  at  the  head  of  his  squad- 
ron in  the  harbor.  St.  Johns  is  a  stirring  city  of 
25,000  inhabitants.  The  wealth  of  Newfoundland 
consists  mainly  of  its  cod  and  seal-fisheries,  and  the 
prosperity  of  the  city  depends  largely  on  the  han- 
dling of  these  products  of  the  sea.  The  presence  of 
the  English  squadron  marked  a  great  event  in  the 
daily  affairs  of  the  people  of  St. Johns.  The  governor 
entertained  the  prince  and  the  captains  of  the  vessels, 
and  the  next  evening  the  prince  returned  the 
courtesies  extended  to  him  and  his  officers  by  giving 
the  governor  and  the  most  prominent  government 
officials  a  banquet  on  board  of  his  flag  ship.  The 
great  battleship  was  brilliantly  illuminated  with 
hundreds  of  electric  lights  strung  in  two  rows  on 
the  sides  of  the  vessel  over  all  the  four  funnels,  the 


334     IN  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

very  top  of  every  mast,  and  along  every  spar.  An- 
other vessel,  the  second  in  size,  was  similarly  deco- 
rated. From  the  remaining  ships  of  the  squadron, 
the  flashes  of  light  from  reflectors  were  thrown 
continuously  in  all  directions.  This  display  was 
kept  up  until  midnight,  when,  with  the  twinkle  of 
an  eye,  by  a  given  signal,  the  flickering  lights  and 
the  flash  lights  were  extinguished,  leaving  the  great 
fighting  machines  of  the  sea  like  specters  in  the 
darkness  of  the  night. 


FROM  ST.  JOHNS  TO  SYDNEY,  CAPE 
BRETON 


I  took  passage  on  the  "Bonavista"  that  evening, 
and  from  the  deck  of  the  steamer  witnessed  the 
magnificent  illumination  of  the  harbor.  The 
steamer  left  the  harbor  at  two  o'clock,  next  morning, 
Thursday.  About  thirty  first-class  passengers 
were  on  board.  As  soon  as  the  ship  left  the  entrance 
of  the  harbor  they  were  aroused  from  their  sleep  by 
the  violent  pitching  and  rolling  of  the  vessel,  which 
reminded  them  that  they  were  on  the  open  sea,  made 
angry  by  the  dreaded  September  gales.  The  un- 
steady gait  of  the  ship  became  more  and  more  so  as 
we  neared  Cape  Race,  a  neighborhood  which  has  a 
bad  reputation  among  sailors,  more  especially  about 
the  time  of  the  equinox.  The  "Bonavista"  had  a 
smooth  path  coming,  a  very  rough  one  on  the  return 
trip. 

A  dense  fog  and  a  drizzling  rain  added  to  the 
disagreeableness  of  the  voyage.  Experience  in  the 
past  gave  me  the  impression  that  the  English  people 
suffer  less  from  seasickness  than  any  other  nation- 
ality. I  was  anxious  to  learn  to  what  extent  the 
Newfoundlanders  could  make  claim  to  such  immunity 
from  the  terrors  of  the  sea,  as  most  of  them  are  of 
English  extraction.  On  this  occasion,  their  repu- 
tation as  sailors  fell  short  of  my  expectations.  I 
was  the  only  one  at  the  breakfast  table,  and  the  pale 
steward  who  waited  on  me  ought  to  have  been  in 
bed.  The  stewardess  had  done  so,  and  remained 
insensible  to  the  calls  for  help  made  by  the  female 

335 


336     /AT  THE  HEART  OF  THE  ARCTICS 

passengers.  The  violent  ringing  of  the  cabin-bells, 
the  moaning  and  groaning  and  the  periodic  dis- 
tressing sounds  which  accompany  the  act  of  vomiting 
proved,  only  too  clearly,  that  the  inmates  of  all 
cabins  were  in  distress.  Two  or  three  pale, 
haggard  faces  made  their  appearance  at  the  table 
next  meal;  but  the  tempting  dishes  had  no  attrac- 
tion for  them.  After  taking  a  few  sips  of  coffee, 
they  disappeared  again.  It  was  only  after  the  ship 
entered  the  quiet  waters  of  the  Sydney  harbor  that 
the  passengers  recuperated  from  the  effects  of  the 
unusually  rough  voyage. 

I  love  the  sea  and  all  its  charms ;  but  after  having 
lived  on  board  the  "Erik"  for  nearly  two  months, 
I  was  glad  to  make  a  change  at  Sydney,  from  steamer 
to  the  well-equipped  train  of  the  Intercolonial  Rail- 
way, and  finish  my  tour  by  this  more  speedy  means  of 
travel.  After  a  most  pleasant  and  instructive  vaca- 
tion of  more  than  two  months,  most  of  the  time 
having  been  spent  in  the  very  heart  of  the  arctics, 
I  reached  Ch'cago,  Tuesday,  September  nth,  men- 
tally and  physically  rested,  eager  to  resume  my  work. 
Travel  has  made  me  familiar  with  nearly  all  climates 
in  the  world;  it  has  afforded  me  an  opportunity  to 
see  and  study  many  primitive  races,  their  habits, 
and  customs.  It  has  brought  me  in  touch  with 
Nature's  choicest  works  of  art,  her  wonderful  re- 
sources, under  varying  climatic  conditions,  all  of 
which  has  convinced  me :  that  in  all  inhabitable  parts 
of  the  globe  nature  has  wisely  provided  for  man  and 
beast,  and  has  painted  everywhere  the  most  exquis- 
ite works  of  art  and  more  especially  in  the  land  of 
ice  and  snow — Greenland. 


PLEASE  DO  NOT  REMOVE 
CARDS  OR  SLIPS  FROM  THIS  POCKET 

UNIVERSITY  OF  TORONTO  LIBRARY 


Senn,  Nicholas 

In  the  heart  of  the  Arctics